This article was published on January 7th, 2015
The Health and Safety Executive have fined a well known UK vehicle manufacturer after one of its employees was dragged into some machinery and sustained extensive crush injuries. The 57 year old maintenance electrician suffered ten broken ribs, punctured both lungs, broke two bones in his spine, his breastbone and two bones in his hand.
He had to be put in an induced coma for 12 days while he was treated and he also suffered a blood clot on his heart and kidney as a result of the accident. The employee spent a further week in hospital after he woke from his coma and, despite his life threatening injuries, he successfully returned to work after 4 months.
The Magistrate Court heard how the employee approached a gap in the perimeter guarding that surrounded the vehicle body lifting equipment, after frequent production line stoppages. He was trying to find out what was causing the stoppages and as he watched he was hit by an empty vehicle body carrier and knocked to the ground and forcibly dragged through the gap into a restricted processing area where he was severely crushed.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the unguarded gap needed protective measures to ensure the accident didn’t happen again and so the company enclosed the area of conveyor with fixed perimeter guards and introduced a robust key exchange access system.
The company was fined £40,000 with £13,474 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
Speaking after the hearing, an HSE inspector said:
“The incident was entirely preventable. Although the gap was minimally sized to allow empty carriers into the restricted area, it also allowed access to dangerous moving parts within the production process while in itself creating a crush hazard with the moving conveyor.”
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