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This article was published on December 7th, 2016
A ship builder based in Birkenhead has been investigated by the HSE after a 59 year old employee sustained a serious crushing injury to his hand whilst he was carrying our repair work.
The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation found that the accident happened as the worker repaired the lathe and attempted to clean the shaft and couplings using an emery cloth. When he turned on the machine the cloth pulled his hand into the moving parts of the machine causing the injury. He was off work for five months whilst his hand healed.
Liverpool Magistrates Court heard that the shipbuilder had failed to complete a risk assessment of the job and failed to recognise the commonplace and dangerous practice of using emery cloths to clean moving parts of machinery. Employees were attempting to maintain machinery rather than referring the job to a specialist department.
There was a health and safety process in place called a system of lock off which should have been actioned to prevent power to the machine whilst it was being maintained. Employees were not fully aware of this process and the company was found at fault as it had not been effectively communicated.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,683.
An HSE Inspector commented: “The Defendant had developed a Health and Safety Management System (HSMS) but failed to ensure that the system had permeated all parts of the organisation. If the HSMS had been followed this accident may not have occurred. Maintenance was being carried out on machinery which was energised whilst someone was in the dangerous part of that machine. There was no lock off, poor control and poor management. Prior to maintenance the equipment was not shutdown, isolated and residual energy released and secured with a means to prevent inadvertent reconnection (e.g. by locking off with a padlock) as it should have been.”
Accidents can be embarrassing and stressful and we often blame ourselves when they happen but ask yourself this.. were you given the right tools and equipment for the job? Was the job risk assessed and properly supervised? were you given the proper training to do the job? are all the tools and machinery maintained and fit for purpose? If you are unsure if you are at fault or not then speak to one of our specialist solicitors who find out for you and will handle every aspect of your work accident compensation claim, providing the support and expertise you deserve.
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