Chimney Business Convicted After Colleague Loses Fingers In Crush

| General

In the early stages of May 2023 industry enforcement arm the Health and Safety Executive via the Yeovil Magistrates Court imposed both a criminal conviction and financial sanction in the amount just shy of fifty thousand pounds to a flue and chimney-making business based predominantly in Barnstable in Devon. It was dished out in the wake of an incident in which a member of the workforce received crush-related injuries to his hands whilst he was operating a piece of industrial equipment designed to roll metal in the working environment.  In fact, the damage inflicted on the member of the workforce seems to have been of such a severe nature that when the independent medical specialists carried out an assessment as to the extent of the injuries inflicted upon the colleague at the centre of the proceedings it made the extremely upsetting decision that nothing could be done to salvage the digits of the member of the workforce located on his hands. The call was then made to remove all eight of his fingers via amputation surgery. 

What Happened In The Case?

At the time of the accident in approximately September 2019 which took place on the premises belonging to the employer the member of the workforce was operating a piece of industrial equipment designed to roll metal. His day-to-day duties appeared to have been threading metal sheeting of a flat nature through the mechanism of the piece of equipment. The member of the workforce somehow found himself in the extremely unfortunate position of having his hands crushed within the mechanism of the machinery located in the workplace. As a direct consequence of the incident, he was forced to stay under medical supervision of a hospital facility for just under two months. Whilst he was convalescing he had to undergo several medical surgical procedures. If the reader is of the view that this was the end of the matter, they are living under a misconception. This was because at the time of the writing, the member of the workforce has still not had artificial limbs installed in place of his fingers.      

What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?

When the HSE delve into the circumstances surrounding the incident involving the metal rolling equipment the regulator discovered evidence suggesting that the business had fallen short of its obligations by ensuring the equipment was operationally safe to be operated by staff, conduct a risk assessment as to whether persons carrying out their day-to-duties in the vicinity of the equipment could be left open to the possibility of bodily damage and missed a trick in re-evaluating the chance of similar serious incidents taking place after the flue and chimney business altered the method the piece of machinery was utilised. 

Feet to the Fire?

In the course of time, the matter meandered its way to the Yeovil Magistrates Court to its credit the specialist chimney and flu-making business held its hands up to failing to adhere to section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which places duties upon business employing staff to safeguard the health, safety, and wellbeing of those working in their employment. 

Lessons Learned

Businesses with colleagues operating metal-rolling equipment need to reduce the risk of injury by: 
-    prioritising colleague wellbeing 
-    upskilling staff to operate industrial equipment competently
-    spotting potentially dangerous risks to staff and
-    mitigating against the likelihood of bodily damage being caused to colleagues 
If you have experienced something similar, or have an opposing viewpoint, please kindly leave a comment on the article or contact us. 
ASSESSING FIRMS
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