Crush injury lands UK rubber company in court
ERJ staff report (PR)
Goole, UK – A British firm has been prosecuted for safety breaches after a worker’s arm was pulled into an unguarded conveyor belt and crushed at its factory in Goole, north east England.
The 27-year-old employee of Createscape Ltd, which makes rubber playground surfaces, was trying to clean a build-up of shredded rubber from a conveyor at the back of the shredding machines on 2 October 2012 when the incident happened. His arm was pulled in between the belt and a roller, and he suffered a fractured arm.
Beverley Magistrates, last month, heard that the worker was inside a fenced enclosure. There was an interlock system on the gates, designed to protect employees from the moving machinery inside.
However, an investigation by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the conveyor had not been connected to the interlock system, which meant it could still be running while a person was inside the enclosure.
The court was told that the cleaning of shreds from inside the enclosure and around the conveyor belt was a regular activity but Createscape had not properly assessed the risks to the staff carrying out the task.
Createscape Ltd, of White Rose Park, Larsen Road, Goole, was fined a total of £3,500 (€4,320) with £761 in costs after admitting breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, and a separate breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
Createscape failed to take effective steps to prevent workers from accessing dangerous parts of the rubber shred conveyor, according to HSE Inspector Dr Nicholas Tosney, after the hearing.
“Fixed guarding or connecting the conveyor to the interlock system would have prevented the incident, and the worker’s injury, from happening,” he said.
“The dangers of conveyor belts are well recognised in industry so there is little excuse for companies of whatever size to expose their employees to unnecessary dangers.”