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Global plastics recycler fined after worker’s arm injury

Date:
14 February 2014

One of the country’s largest plastic recycling plants, based in north Nottinghamshire, has been fined after a worker suffered a broken arm when it became caught in machinery.

Worksop Magistrates’ Court was told today (14 February) that MBA Polymers UK Ltd failed to take effective measures to prevent access to dangerous moving parts of the equipment at its premises on Sandy Lane, Worksop, on 2 May 2012.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that the injured worker, a 23-year-old man from Costhorpe, Nottinghamshire, was working alone on a night shift in an area at the top of the factory when the incident happened.

He was checking on an auger, a spiral which pushes materials through a metal tube, when his sleeve got caught on a bolt protruding from the electric motor driving the auger spiral. This twisted his sleeve so severely it acted like a tourniquet and broke his arm. At the same time, the twisted clothing broke the motor driveshaft and the worker was able to cut himself free and call for help.

The effects of the injuries were so serious he has not yet returned to work.

Magistrates heard a lack of suitable guarding was the main cause of the incident.

HSE found the guards over the access holes to the drilling tool had been removed and not replaced, leaving the rotating parts unguarded.

MBA Polymers UK Ltd of Sandy Lane, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £3,851 in costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Section 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Butter said:

“This man suffered very serious injuries to his arm but had he not been fortunate enough to be able to free himself, it could easily have resulted in amputation.

“Incidents involving entanglement on rotating machinery can be easily avoided if suitable guarding is maintained.

“The guarding defects had been raised by employees and MBA Polymers was aware of the situation, so there is no excuse for failing to take action.”

The latest HSE statistics show that in 2012/13 more than 17,000 people were injured while working in the manufacturing sector. For advice and information go to http://www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing

Notes to editors

  1. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
  2. Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states that: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken…which are effective to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”

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