Chesterfield Justice Centre heard how, on December 9, 2018, e employee had opened the inspection hatch on a closed conveyor in order to clear a blockage at the site in Killamarsh, Derbyshire. The conveyor started unexpectedly, severing the employee’s right arm below the elbow.
An investigation by the HSE found that the company did not have a documented safe system of work for clearing these blockages which occurred on a recurrent basis on this conveyor as well as others at the site. This meant there was no reference, no training material or procedure that could be monitored, as a result different practices developed over time, said the agency.
The HSE added that the feed company did not appear to be aware that blockages were cleared in this unsafe manner.
Had a suitable and sufficient risk assessment been completed, the company would have identified that there was a risk to employees created by intervention in the machine when blockage clearance was required and it should have developed appropriate instruction, training and information related to the task, said the watchdog.
Company pleads guilty
Hi Peak Feeds Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the UK’s Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £140,000 (US$183K) and ordered to pay costs of around £2,500.
Speaking after the hearing last month, HSE inspector Lindsay Bentley said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided through the implementation of a safe system of work involving effective plant isolation and adherence to safe working practices.”