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Powder coating firm in court after worker’s hand injury

Date:
10 March 2014

A Bedfordshire-based powder coating firm has been fined after an employee suffered serious hand injuries when lifting equipment failed at the company premises in Leighton Buzzard.

The worker, who does not wish to be named, was struck by metal items after a basket and cradle fell whilst being lifted by crane into a degreasing tank. The incident, on 26 September 2012, happened when a lifting eyebolt attached to the crane failed.

The cradle struck his right hand resulting in broken bones, lacerations, and damage to nerves and tendons. Luton Magistrates’ Court heard today (10 March) that DT Powder Coating Ltd – now trading as XL Powder Coating Ltd – failed to report the injury incident within the 15-day period specified by law. However, after it happened, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) received three separate complaints from current and previous employees, which resulted in HSE serving four Improvement Notices on the company.

A subsequent HSE investigation identified serious shortcomings in the way lifting operations were carried out at the firm’s factory on the Commerce Way Industrial Estate. None of the lifting accessories had been tested to ensure they were safe, employees had not received any training, and there was no system of work to ensure that lifting operations were carried out safely.

The eyebolt in question should have been screwed securely into the framework at the top of the basket, but instead was poorly welded into place. The weld eventually failed causing the basket to drop.

DT Powder Coating Ltd, registered at High Street, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, was fined a total of £36,000 and ordered to pay £10,509 costs after being found guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Regulation 3(2) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995, and Regulation 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

After the case, HSE Inspector Emma Rowlands, said:

“There were multiple failings on the part of DT Powder Coating Ltd: they had not assessed the risks to their staff or planned the lifting operation to ensure it was carried out safely – neither did they ensure that the lifting equipment was safe to use or maintain the equipment appropriately.

“We received several complaints from current and previous employees regarding this company. Our investigation revealed a lack of basic employee training, and that lifting operations were carried out in a way that exposed employees to risk of injury. In this case, an employee suffered a needless injury, which has prevented him from working for over a year.”

For more information and guidance about how to prevent injuries when carrying our lifting procedures visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/loler.htm

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 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.”
  3. Regulation 3(2) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (as amended) states: “Subject to regulation 10, where a person at work is incapacitated for work of a kind which he might reasonably be expected to do, either under his contract of employment, or, if there is no such contract, in the normal course of his work, for more than three consecutive days (excluding the day of the accident but including any days which would not have been working days) because of an injury resulting from an accident arising out of or in connection with work (other than one reportable under paragraph (1)), the responsible person shall as soon as practicable and, in any event, within 10 days of the accident send a report thereof to the relevant enforcing authority on a form approved for the purposes of this regulation, unless within that period he makes a report thereof to the Executive by some other means so approved.”
  4. Regulation 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “(1) Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. (2) Every employer shall ensure that where any machinery has a maintenance log, the log is kept up to date.”
  5. HSE news releases are available at press.hse.gov.uk

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