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Farm fined for use of unguarded machinery

A farming business has been fined for using unsafe machinery after one of its employee’s sustained horrific crush injuries to his arm when it got caught in unguarded machinery.

The staff member was working in a growing tunnel at the time of the accident, clearing away compost after a recent crop had been harvested. The job involved a specifically designed machine which rolled a net and polythene sheet up as the compost was cleared away.

The Magistrates Court heard how the sheet dropped away and the employee attempted to place it back into the machine without stopping it first. It is then that his left gloved hand became caught into the winding mechanism and continued to pull his arm into the mechanism right up to his shoulder.

When a co-worker heard his cries for help he stopped the machine and pressed the reverse button which released the injured man’s arm. As a result of the unguarded roller mechanism, the worker had multiple crush injuries to his arm including severe bruising to his chest and back.

Since the accident the employee has remained off work for over a year and the company has fully enclosed the rotating part of the machine with fixed guarding and fitted a key exchange system to prevent the same accident doesn’t occur again.

The farm was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,700 after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

HSE Inspector Roxanne Barker said:

“The risks associated with unguarded winches or rollers are well-known in many industries, including agriculture. Incidents involving this type of machinery can cause serious, life-changing injuries, which is why onus is on employers to ensure that appropriate guards are in place to protect workers from dangerous moving parts.”


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