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Business Fined after Crush Injury Accident

Business Fined after Crush Injury Accident

The Hull based company has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over the failings that led to a member of staff suffering an arm injury in an accident at work.

Industrial conveyor belt maker J H Fenner & Co, which trades as Fenner Dunlop Europe, was taken to Court by the HSE for a series of failures to provide sufficient guards on a number of its machines. Its investigation found there were no interlocked guards, light curtains, pressure mats or trip wires on its winding machines. This left staff potentially exposed to working parts.

As a consequence, 30-year-old Jamie Rignall from Bilton, who had only worked at the firm for four months and had no previous factory floor experience, had his arm dragged into the machine as he used his gloved hand to smooth a rubber and fabric web he was feeding into it, a common procedure. 

Although he managed to pull the emergency stop lever, he suffered severe crush injuries including swelling to his arm which needed several skin graft operations.

The company had failed to note and correct the absence of guards despite carrying out risk assessments and issuing safe working codes. It admitted two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 at Hull Magistrates Court and was fined £7,500 plus £958 costs as a result.

Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Mark Welsh remarked, "If Mr Rignall had not managed to operate the safety bar, and he was working alone at the time, his injuries may have been even more serious.

"Had J H Fenner taken the time to provide adequate guarding on the machine and acted on this defect, then the incident would never have occurred."

Mr Walsh added that the firm continued to leave other machines exposed and took no action to deal with the problem for four months. 

One of the stipulations of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 is that machinery and equipment should be "accompanied by suitable health and safety measures, such as protective devices and controls". This includes warning devices, emergency stop devices and ways of isolating equipment from power supplies.

By Chris Stevenson