International Firm Prosecuted After Worker’s Arm Gets Trapped In Machinery
A Sheffield production plant has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs after a worker suffered severe injuries to his left arm requiring three skin grafts and two metal plates fitting.
The unnamed employee, who worked for the international fencing firm Betafence LTD, was mending a break in a rotating block of a wire drawing machine – trying to rethread some wire through it.
The power should have been cut off but the safety guard failed to break the circuit and he suffered horrific injuries when he accidentally knocked the start button, including a dislocated elbow, compound fractures to his lower arm and had parts of his skin ripped off.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive following the work accident on 7th August 2008, led to the prosecution of Betafence LTD for a serious breach of safety.
It found that the interlock had failed to break the circuit and cut the power to the block as it should have done. Betafence LTD had a system for checking the guards on its machines but it did not include checking the functioning of interlock switches on moveable guards.
Sally Rissbrook, an associate solicitor who specialises in helping victims of accidents at work, said it was vital that employers in the manufacturing sector learn lessons from this kind of incident.
She said: “Time and time again we are contacted by workers from the manufacturing sector who have been injured, through no fault of their own, due to insufficient safety checks by employers.
“Health and safety has to be a top priority for all companies, especially in the manufacturing sector where employees maintain heavy machinery.
“We hope that lessons can be learnt from industrial accident cases like this as too many workers are still getting hurt and as a result have to live with the effects for the rest of their lives.”