A Goole firm has been prosecuted for safety breaches after a worker’s arm was pulled into an unguarded conveyor belt and crushed at its factory in White Rose Park.
The 27-year-old employee of Createscape Ltd, which makes rubber playground surfaces, was trying to clean a build-up of shredded rubber from a conveyor at the back of the shredding machines on 2 October 2012 when the incident happened. His arm was pulled in between the belt and a roller, and he suffered a fractured arm.
Beverley Magistrates heard today (7 May) that the worker, who does not wish to be named, was inside a fenced enclosure. There was an interlock system on the gates, designed to protect employees from the moving machinery inside.
However, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the conveyor had not been connected to the interlock system, which meant it could still be running while a person was inside the enclosure.
The court was told that the cleaning of shreds from inside the enclosure and around the conveyor belt was a regular activity but Createscape had not properly assessed the risks to the staff carrying out the task.
Createscape Ltd, of White Rose Park, Larsen Road, Goole, was fined a total of £3,500 with £761 in costs after admitting breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, and a separate breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Dr Nicholas Tosney said:
“Createscape failed to take effective steps to prevent workers from accessing dangerous parts of the rubber shred conveyor or stop the movement of the machinery before a worker got into the danger zone.
“Fixed guarding or connecting the conveyor to the interlock system would have prevented the incident, and the worker’s injury, from happening.
“The dangers of conveyor belts are well recognised in industry so there is little excuse for companies of whatever size to expose their employees to unnecessary dangers.”
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
- 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.
- Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: “Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work”