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Inadequately guarded conveyor severed worker’s arm

A concrete manufacturer in Bristol has been fined £100,000 after a worker’s arm was torn off when it was pulled into the rotating tail pulley of a conveyor belt. 

Bristol Crown Court heard that the Concrete Fabrications employee, who wants to remain anonymous, was adjusting tension rods to rectify the misaligned conveyor. The bars were inside the machine’s guard, close to the conveyor belt and rotating tail pulley. 
 
Aggregate had built up on the tension rods and he attempted to knock it off with a hammer, but it was caught by the rotating machinery. The worker’s arm was dragged in and severed between the shoulder and elbow. 
 
The conveyor should have been fitted with guarding that enabled the worker to adjust the tension rods without being exposed to the machine’s dangerous moving parts, said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 
 
A sufficient risk assessment would have helped identify control measures for tracking conveyor belts, the executive added, while clear isolation and lock-off procedures should have been in place. 
 
Concrete Fabrications pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined and must also pay costs of £7,758. 
 
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Matt Tyler said: “Companies need to ensure the risks associated with maintenance tasks are adequately assessed, and effectively controlled, through adequate guarding of dangerous parts of machinery, and the existence of clear robust procedures in respect of maintenance and adjustments of machinery, including isolation and lock off requirements.”

 

Keeley Downey is acting deputy editor of IOSH Magazine. She is a former editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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