Case Study: Safe Systems Of Work

Safe systems of work and risk assessments are vital components in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of employees. Risk assessments help identify hazards and ensure the control measures in place are sufficient, while safe systems of work set out the procedures and protocols that ensure activities can be performed safely. By providing training on risk assessments and safe systems of work within the factory, you can ensure factory health and safety, which are paramount to maintaining a productive and secure work environment for all employees.

Neglecting these can lead to accidents, as a recent HSE prosecution demonstrates.

HSE Prosecution

In a recent HSE prosecution, a metal processing company based in the West Midlands were fined £12,000 after a worker sustained life changing injuries.

The firm carries out metal slitting at their premises. This process involves coils of metal being split into different lengths. In May 2022, an incident resulted in a worker severing a finger and de-gloving his right hand.

The employee was setting up one of the slitting lines when the incident took place. As a result of the injury sustained, he spent 11 days in hospital and underwent several surgeries, skin grafts, and the amputation of his middle finger.

The subsequent HSE investigation found that company did not have a safe system of work in place for the activity of setting and checking the blades. Their risk assessment was not suitable and sufficient, and did not consider the risks to employees when setting the blades.

Subsequently, the company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. In March 2024 they were fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,592.

Speaking after the hearing, the HSE inspector said:

“The injuries that Mr Daniels suffered have impacted on all aspects of his life and resulted in him having to undergo numerous operations.

The risks arising from working near to the dangerous moving parts of machinery are well known. Employers must assess their workplace for these risks and act to ensure that effective measures are in place to prevent access to dangerous, moving parts of machinery.”

Are you confident that your risk assessments are suitable and sufficient for the activities you are carrying out? Are your systems of work documented, trained out, and monitored?

We can provide support, advice and training on risk assessments and safe systems of work to help you ensure your workers go home safely at the end of the day. Get in touch today to start a conversation.