Machinery Safety Failure leads to fatality

This is another reported case of a machinery safety failure leading to a fatality.

In this case, Leeds Magistrates Court heard how, on 28 February 2014, a 50-year-old employee of WE Rawson Limited leant into a packaging machine whilst attempting to free a stuck package. Whilst doing so, he became trapped between an upper and lower moving conveyor. The employee suffered severe crush injuries and later died in hospital.

During the investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, it was found the company had failed to take measures to prevent access to the danger zone between the moving conveyors. The investigation also found that no safe system of work had been provided for the removal of trapped packages from the machine.

WE Rawson Limited of Castlebank Mills Portobello Road Wakefield pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £600,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,165.09.

After the hearing, HSE inspector John Boyle commented:

This fatality could have been prevented had the risk been identified.

Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.

Some of the key points leading to the machinery safety failure were:

  • Failure to access the risks from the operation fully
  • Failure to develop a safe system of work for removal of trapped packages

If you have not addressed your machinery safety issues, the time to do it is now – not after someone is injured or killed.


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