Worker arm injury leads to concrete manufacture fine
Posted by Jason Nicholls
A concrete manufacturer has received a major fine after a worker suffered serious injuries to his arm when it became entangled in a machine.
Ayrshire firm Hillhouse Precast Concrete Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive and fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 during the incident, which occurred in 2010.
The worker in question was using a rolling machine to flatten concrete in a mould when his glove became caught in a metal D-ring connecting the roller to the handle, drawing his arm into the roller as it turned and breaking it in two places.
As a result of the incident, he needed two plates surgically inserted in his arm and physiotherapy treatment, and no longer has full strength in his right arm.
This has not only left him unable to lift heavy loads, but also caused scarring, and while the victim has since returned to work, it is with a different company.
During the HSE's investigation, it found that the machine’s handle had been found to be leaking hydraulic fluid and was replaced around a month before the accident took place.
However, while the original handle had a mechanism fitted which prevented workers being exposed to the risk of the machine starting automatically, the new switch did not have this feature and so was capable of being left in the 'on' position, which nobody had noticed.
Commenting on the incident, HSE inspector Mark Carroll acknowledged that it came about through an "inadvertent mistake" rather than any deliberate failure to comply with standards, but nevertheless highlights the importance of planning and precautions.
"Hillhouse Precast Concrete Ltd has introduced measures and bought new equipment to avoid a repeat of the incident, but it could have been prevented by better consideration of how the repair work affected the safe operation of the roller," he added.
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