A company which specialises in construction materials has been fined after an employee suffered life changing injuries including having his left arm amputated.
Loughborough Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 13 August 2017, a 48-year-old employee of Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK Limited was seriously injured when a rock handling belt failed at the company’s plant in Barrow-Upon-Soar, Leicestershire.
Two employees had been clearing rock that had built up around the belt; as the belt had become so compacted it was difficult to remove by hand. Both men went to the isolator end of the belt and removed the local isolation with the guards still removed and pressed the ‘start/stop’ button.
When checking the tail-end of the drum they saw it had not cleared itself of rock. One of the men went to the opposite side of the tail-end drum to remove the rock and the pair no longer had visual contact. His colleague pressed the start/stop button again whilst his colleague’s arm was in close proximity to the rotating drum and his arm was drawn in causing significant injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that no risk assessment or safe system of work had been put in place for clearing rock safely from tail-end drums.
Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,945.
Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers and Health and Safety expert said: “This case highlights the importance of having sufficient risk assessment procedures in place. If you are concerned about your businesses’ safety procedures then it is important that you seek specialist advice at the earliest convenience”.
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