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‘Clear Importance’ Of Machine Guarding Highlighted By Two Prosecutions

Companies Fined Over Separate Accidents At Work


By Rob Dixon

Workplace injury lawyers are reiterating calls for employers to meet their responsibilities when it comes to safety guarding on machinery, after two separate Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecutions highlighted the terrible consequences of the problems.

In one case, Tyneside company Radford HMY Group Ltd was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs in relation to an accident at work in February 2012, when a 31-year-old worker’s hand was crushed as he attempted to reposition a component jammed on a shelving assembly and welding machine.

While the jam caused the machine to stop, correcting it meant the machine immediately restarted and the man’s right hand became trapped.

An investigation by the HSE found that an interlocking device to prevent access to dangerous parts had been deliberately disabled so workers could enter the machine enclosure while it was still running.

In a separate case, Worthing company B&W Group was fined over an incident in November 2011 when a 42-year-old man broke his arm in an unguarded machine used to manufacture loudspeaker cones.

An investigation by the HSE found that a risk assessment had been undertaken on the machine but it only considered burn injuries rather than the dangers of moving parts. There was also no guarding on the machine to address the dangers of the equipment while it was in operation.

Sally Rissbrook, a workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, specialises in helping victims of accidents at work to gain justice over the ordeals they have faced as a result of safety failings by employers.

Commenting on these incidents, she said: “Barely a week goes by when the HSE is not prosecuting an employer in relation to the basic safety failing of a lack of machine guarding.

“Both of these cases demonstrate the long-term impact that injuries suffered as a result of such issues can cause, with one of the workers being unable to return to work for seven months and another being left with no strength or feeling in his right hand for several months.

“The work we do allows victims to gain both answers over the problems they have faced as well as access to vital funds which go towards their rehabilitation and recovery.

“We would urge employers to ensure they are meeting their responsibilities in relation to protecting workers, with health and safety always being the fundamental priority.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Inadequate Protective Equipment Claims