Safety lapses abound in manufacturing, research finds
Tuesday 30th August 2016
From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
Researchers found that, on average, an employee had three accidents at work, two of which happened in the previous 12 months.
More than one worker in ten (11%) said the employer had failed to carry out a risk assessment before the job started, an oversight that contravened health and safety legislation, the report pointed out.
Fully 141 employees from manufacturing responded to the study by personal injury solicitors firm Hayward Baker, which polled 1,019 British workers about the conditions of their offices, shops, factories, warehouses and building sites.
Slippery floors or stairs, obstructions, cluttered floors, defective equipment and unsatisfactory tools were cited as causes of workplace accidents in manufacturing.
Half of the factory workers surveyed had sustained a workplace injury, with 32% having been to hospital due to a work-related illness or injury. Almost a quarter (24%) said incorrect handling of heavy items due to using the wrong equipment had led to an injury.
More than half (56%) of those employed by manufacturers revealed they often complained to their bosses about the state of their place of work, with a further 25% claiming their manager failed to address concerns.
A Hayward Baker spokesperson said: "Going to work could seriously damage the health of employees that work in a manufacturing environment if their managers fail to take working conditions seriously enough."
In the survey as a whole, 69% said their workplace was hazardous to their health. Some 35% said they had picked up an illness from their place of work, 18% of them reporting food poisoning or a stomach bug due to dirty conditions. A further 39% were injured at work, with two in ten needing hospital treatment.
Complaints about workplaces included greasy and slippery floors (16%), unhygienic co-workers (13%), unsanitary toilets (11%) and cluttered floors (10%). Dirty kitchens were a problem for 10% of the nation's workforce, as were ripped carpets (9%), broken chairs (8%) and unsafe wiring (6%).
The survey found that 16% of workers sought legal advice after sustaining an injury, with the average compensation claim being £24,931.
Some 29% of all accidents at work were considered "moderate", and included broken bones . Other common workplace injuries were cuts (27%) and strained backs (20%). The more "severe" injuries that followed an accident at work included dislocations (9%) and the loss of a limb or other body part (6%).
Just over one-fifth (21%) blamed the employer for their workplace accident, while a further 18% said the accident was their own fault.
The 46-year-old Knowsley Engineering Services employee and a colleague were using a forklift truck to manoeuvre the structure out of the company’s premises in Skelmersdale, Lancashire. As it was raised above the supporting trestle it began to twist and swung into the cab of the forklift, striking the worker who sustained a broken arm and serious flesh wounds.
The installation engineer was commissioning a new conveyor belt system for postal operator UK Mail at its site in Coventry on 21 January 2015 when his arm was pulled in. The machinery was not effectively guarded and there were no isolation procedures in place, the Health and Safety Executive found. Sovex was found guilty of breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £170,000 with £24,000 costs at Warwick Crown Court.
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.
A panel on the sectional vertical door at ESP’s premises in Malvern, Worcestershire, was broken and the company’s manager asked the worker and his colleague to check it. There was a spare panel in the factory and they decided to replace the faulty one on 5 May 2015. The panel sections of the door were connected by hinges. On the side of each section was a bracket with a roller that ran inside the vertical track in the door frame. The 150 kg door was held in position by two cables that connected the bottom panel to a pair of springs near the ceiling.
Colin Reddish, 48, was working alone on 30 April 2015 at Parker Hannifin Manufacturing’s factory in Grantham, Lincolnshire, moving a large computer numerically controlled (CNC) milling machine. The machine had been placed on skates so that Reddish could use an angle grinder to cut and remove the bolts that had fixed it to the floor. As he was doing this, the machine toppled and killed him.
Ken Cresswell, Chris Huxtable and John Shaw have been missing since 23 February. The body, which has not yet been identified, was found on Wednesday (31 August) and the families of the three missing men have been informed. Thames Valley Police said contractors have temporarily stopped removing debris so that specialists can enter the site and safely recover the body. The Disaster Victim Identification process will then commence. The body of Michael Collings was previously recovered from the site.