Guarding, lock off procedures and system of work all found lacking

A concrete products company has been fined £100,000 after the arm of a workman was “torn off” when it was pulled into the rotating tail drum and belt of a conveyor in May 2015.

Bristol Crown Court heard the injured man was making adjustments to a misaligned conveyor belt. This involved adjusting tensioning rods located inside the machine guards and in close proximity to the conveyor belt and tail pulley. An unsafe system of work existed for the maintenance of machinery in that dangerous moving parts of the machine were exposed during maintenance operations.

A sufficient risk assessment would have identified the risks associated with tracking conveyor belts and the appropriate control measures.

Dangerous parts exposed during maintenance

The firm from Bristol pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 and was fined £100,000 with £7758 costs awarded to HSE. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Matthew Tyler said:

“Company’s 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.”