A paper company in Gloucestershire has been prosecuted at Cheltenham Magistrates court this week. The Health and Safety Executive discovered the company was failing to meet the health and safety regulations after a worker was involved in an accident in 2012. The man who doesn’t wish to be named was injured when his hand was crushed between some rollers in a paper coating machine. He was left with cuts, bruises and was unable to return to work for two months after the incident.
The HSE investigated and discovered that the accident could have been avoided. The rollers are usually protective with a guard when it is being operated. The guards are essential to protect the worker from coming into contact with the moving parts. On the day of the incident the guards had not been replaced after the rollers were cleaned – an activity that takes place several times a day.
No Guards and Lack of Safe Working Method Led to Accident
The lack of guards on the rollers wasn’t the only issue discovered during the investigation. The HSE found that the system of work being used wasn’t safe and the working methods actually exposed the workers to risks rather than helping to protect them from the hazards. As a result of the charges brought to Cotek Papers Ltd they were fined £4,000 and mist pay £1,483. The company admitted they had breached Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The law makes it clear that all employers have to make sure employees are kept safe from harm. In order to achieve this there needs to be a safe system of work and the employer must take practicable steps to minimise the risk of injury or poor health caused by working activities.
Use a Competent Person
Cotek Papers failed to meet the law as the act of cleaning the rollers was not carefully planned out. Cleaning the rollers needed to be better planned and the guards should have been in place. Even those people given the job of cleaning machinery have to be protected. Risk assessments and method statements can identify the hazards and find ways of working that will reduce the hazards.
In order to perform risk assessments it’s necessary to have a competent person who has skills and knowledge of health and safety laws. If you don’t have the skills yourself you could undertake training, provide training for your managers or hire a competent person such as your health and safety consultants.
Health and safety services are available all year round and include training as well as providing a competent person to assist you with your health and safety. Learn more about these services by giving us a call on 0800 1488 677.
This post has been filed in: Health and Safety