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Waste firm prosecuted after worker severs fingers in machinery

Date:
3 April 2014

Biffa Waste Services Ltd has been fined for safety breaches after a Derby agency worker lost the tips of two fingers in unguarded machinery.

The 28-year-old man was trying to remove tape that had become wrapped around the external chain drive of a sorting machine at the firm’s site in Victory Road, Victoria Park, Trafalgar Way, when the incident happened on 4 February 2013.

Derby Magistrates’ Court today (3 April) heard the glove he was wearing became entangled on the moving chains which severed the tips of his little and ring fingers on his right hand.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the machine had been fitted with the external chain drive following a breakdown and brought back into use without it being adequately guarded. After it was fitted, the machine got blocked more often and workers had not received adequate training in the safe isolation of the drive.

Biffa Waste Services Ltd, of Coronation Road, Cressex, High Wycombe, was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,542 after admitting two counts of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Edward Walker said:

“The company was fully aware of the requirement for the chains to be guarded and had made arrangements for guards to be added later that week, yet still allowed the machine to be used before that happened.

“As a result, a man suffered a painful injury that could have been prevented.”

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. Section 3(1) of the same act states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

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