Health business fined after worker loses finger
A leading health company has been fined after an employee lost his finger in a machinery accident. The incident took place in a factory in East Yorkshire when the worker was operating a blending machine to mix products. However, the employee was unaware that a fixed guard on the machine had been removed along with a valve that needed a maintenance work.
Bridlington Magistrates heard that another employee had taken the valve off the blender to clean but found it needed a new part and did not reattach it. However, while the part was waiting to be replaced the machine continued to be used.
‘...the business pleaded guilty to two safety breaches brought by Health & Safety Executive (HSE).’
Days later, an unsuspecting worker was using the blender despite missing guard because he was not notified of any danger and his fingers were caught in the rotating blades. As a result, the employee's index finger needed to be amputated and he also left with severe cuts and nerve damage to the middle finger.
The health company, Bee Health, manufactures health products and owns a variety of well-known brands. In response to the accident, the business pleaded guilty to two safety breaches brought by Health & Safety Executive (HSE). Bee Health was fined a total of £7,000 and ordered to pay HSE costs of £4,887.65.
On hearing the result, HSE inspector, Denise Fotherham, said, ‘The Company didn't look at the risks involved with operating the blender. As a result, no one knew the valve should not be removed – not even the regular machine operator. Bee Health also took no steps to prevent the machine being used if the valve was taken off, such as an interlock. A simple measure like that and adequate instructions for employees would have meant a worker not suffering this debilitating injury.’
Health & Safety Management System OHSAS 18001 ensures measures are in place and effectively communicated to help avoid commercial damage and more importantly the health of employees.
Contact NQA today to put your business in line with industry expectations, and know that you can demonstrate proven ‘best practice’ in Health & Safety Management.
Published: 01 January 2012