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Worker’s hand crushed in mishap at recycling centre

The man lost two fingers in the accident and is still undergoing medical treatment for his injuries.

02 September 2019

A recycling centre has been fined after an employee was severely injured at work. The worker’s hand was crushed while trying to clear a blockage from a hazardous baler, without first turning off the equipment.

When the accident occurred, the worker was attempting to move a piece of plastic that was blocking the machine’s hopper (a self-dumping container used in recycling). After moving the safety guard, he leaned into the machine – which was still turned on – and removed the plastic, which activated the baler’s ram, crushing his hand.

The man lost two fingers in the accident and is still undergoing medical treatment for his injuries. In an investigation, the Health and Safety Executive found that the company had fitted the baler with a removable guard, as it often became clogged. Staff members were unaware of the risk of accessing the hopper while the machine was active, and it was not unusual for employees to remove blockages by hand while the bailer was still running.

The HSE also discovered that a risk assessment had not been carried out on the baler, resulting in inadequate safety measures.

The company were charged with breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and were fined £13,000, plus a further £5,952 in costs.

Fortunately, we can help your business to avoid incidents such as this with our health and safety consultancies. Tailored to your business or industry, we can help you to install the correct control measures and working practices to keep your team safe, so get in touch!

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