Manufacturing Company Prosecuted after Worker’s Hand is Crushed by Machine

Life-changing Injuries Suffered by Employee

A Devon-based company which manufactures animal feed has been prosecuted after a worker’s hand was crushed in a pellet press. The employee was trying to unblock the pellet press, which was switched off. However, the machine started up without warning and the employee’s hand became caught. He suffered severe injuries and after several operations had to have his thumb amputated. The worker has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since the accident. Aylescott Feeds and Driers Ltd was fined £14,933.

Read on to find out more about what happened, and to get some of our best tips on putting robust isolation procedures in place for your machines and equipment.

Manufacturing Company Prosecuted after Worker’s Hand is Crushed by Machine

The accident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Inspectors found that no locking off procedure was in place, and that there was no way in which to isolate the machine at the time when the accident occurred.

5 tips to help ensure your isolation procedures are robust:

  1. Do a risk assessment to identify any dangerous machinery or equipment parts that may be present, such as blades, rollers or presses. Look at the work activity involved and see how workers could be harmed by these parts, for example during maintenance when guards are removed, or when clearing blockages or dealing with faults.

  2. Determine when isolation and locking off procedures need to occur, and how and when they should be done. Put this information into the written work procedure, and make sure workers are aware of it.

  3. Put a safe system of work in place. Detail how the isolation will occur from the power source, and how the isolator will be locked off to prevent the machine or equipment being put back into use. This could be achieved via the use of a specially designated padlock system. Use signs to inform others in the vicinity that isolation has occurred, and that maintenance is underway. Have procedures in place for when more than one worker is involved in the job – when this occurs, they will need their own locking off mechanism.

  4. Always allow stored energy to dissipate before undertaking the work activity – remember that this could include pneumatic and hydraulic power.

  5. Train workers on the safe system of work and ensure that they understand what to do. Always ensure that the isolation procedure has been checked by a competent person before allowing the work to commence.

The above injury could easily have been prevented if the right procedures had been in place. Take the time today to check that your machines and equipment are properly isolated when required, and that workers clearly understand the procedures involved.