Companies have been advised how they should go about risk assessments after an employee was badly hurt in an accident.
The unnamed man suffered painful finger injuries after the incident at Banbury-based Walraven Limited in Oxfordshire, a court has heard. The employee was hurt when his digits were crushed in its hydraulic press on March 12 of last year.
After the case Leon Donovan, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advised companies how they can avoid such an incident.
Mr Donovan said that only competent people should undertake proper risk assessments, assessments should be both “sufficient” and “suitable”, and such evaluations should single out the dangers concerning maintenance, settings and every other part of a factory machine’s workings.
He says that such assessments could have prevented the Banbury accident and would have led to the right control steps being introduced after the firm’s defeated interlock had been identified.
Work accident saw digits crushed
Banbury magistrates heard how it had become commonplace at the firm to defeat its interlock when the horizontal press was being set up before the work accident.
The man in question accident set up the press and it crushed the ends of his thumb and index finger.
HSE officers investigated the accident and discovered an inadequate risk assessment for the job at Walraven. It also found that the assessment was reviewed infrequently.
Firm fined £40K after finger injury
The finger injury resulted in a £40,000 fine for Walraven. Magistrates also told the firm to pay £1,353.60 costs.
Walraven admitted to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), and Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
The HSE has posted some tips on how to assess workplace risks.
It advises that companies work out what the hazards are, determine which employees may be hurt and how, assess the dangers and decide how to address them, record their significant findings, and keep reviewing and updating their assessment.
The HSE says such assessments are less about creating massive mountains of paperwork than singling out sensible steps to manage workplace risks.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: February 19, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown