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Steel company prosecuted after worker’s injury

Date:
6 January 2014

Tata Steel has been fined for safety failings after a worker sustained serious injuries to his hand at the company’s works in Llanelli, South Wales.

Llanelli Magistrates heard (3 January) the man, an employee for 34 years, was working on a production line at the Tata site in Trostre on 6 December 2012 when his left hand became trapped in a pair of steel pinch rolls.

He suffered crush injuries that led to the amputation of half his index finger and part of his middle finger.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered there was insufficient guarding equipment on the machinery the worker was using.  Tata Steel UK Ltd had not properly assessed the risks to workers of using the equipment, even though it clearly represented a significant risk because operatives had access to dangerous parts. Tata Steel UK Ltd, of Millbank, London, was fined a total of £25,000 and ordered to pay £8,320 in costs after pleading guilty to three separate breaches of Health and Safety legislation. After the hearing HSE inspector Steve Lewis, said: “This was a completely needless and entirely preventable incident that left an employee with a permanent impairment.

“Tata Steel UK Ltd failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment of the equipment their workers were using .They failed to provide machinery guarding to current standards, did not prevent access to dangerous moving parts of machinery and failed to provide a safe system for managing and controlling the risks associated with a production line.

“It is shocking that a company of this standing failed to achieve compliance on such a basic level of machinery guarding, thereby putting their employees at risk. This case should serve as a warning that HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies where key safety devices are not fitted to potentially dangerous machinery.” For further information on machine guarding please go to: www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/puwer.htm

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive 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. 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.”
  3. Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken… to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”
  4. Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999 states: “Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of its employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work.”
  5. Visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/press.htm for all HSE news releases.

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