A vegetable nursery has been fined after a worker’s arm was severed when it was drawn into the unguarded nip point of a machine being used at its site in Nazeing.
The 39 year-old employee of Glenholme Nursery, who lived in a cabin on the site, was working alongside a large moving machine which was gathering up fibre sheeting full of vegetable and plant waste before chopping it up and ‘blowing’ through a chute and into a skip.
The man, who had been employed by the firm for just four months prior to the incident on 30 April 2014, was tensing the sheet and trying to feed it squarely into the roller when his glove became tangled in the edge of the sheet. His left arm was dragged into the machine and severed at the lower forearm when it became jammed between two parts.
He was taken to Broomfield hospital where surgeons managed to reattach the limb but his arm will be severely affected for the rest of his life. He has not regained any movement, grip or sensation below the amputation scar and suffers constant pain at the wound site.
He has been unable to return to work.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Glenholme Nursery Ltd for safety failings after an investigation revealed the unguarded dangerous nip had not been identified by the company as it had not assessed the risks posed by the machine.
Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard (10 March) that HSE found Glenholme Nursery had also failed to put safe systems of work in place and as a result, it had become custom and practice for employees to tension moving sheets by hand, which brought them dangerously close to the machine and gave rise to the serious risk of entanglement.
Glenholme Nursery Ltd, of Nursery Road, Nazeing, Essex, was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £862.25 in costs as well as a £120 victim surcharge after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
After the case, HSE inspector Paul Grover said:
“The failure to look thoroughly at the potential risks of this machine in operation and the absence of safe working procedures, resulted in a worker sustaining major, life-changing injuries under horrific circumstances.
“Employers have an absolute duty to ensure that they do everything reasonably practicable to ensure their employees are safe at work. In this case, the failures by Glenholme Nursery are likely to have a long-term impact on this man’s future working life and financial security.
“HSE will continue to actively enforce these legal provisions and where breaches of law are identified, appropriate action will be taken to bring offenders to account.”
Notes to Editors
- 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
- 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.”
- Further HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk/