Farming Firm Fined after Worker Loses Arm
A farming firm based in Staffordshire has been fined for safety failings after an injury at work incident, which later resulted in amputation of the worker’s arm.
At the time of the incident, Polish worker Marek Wasilewski, 35, of Swadlincote, sat underneath the rollers of a potato grading machine to clean it. Mr Wasilewski attempted to carry out this process while the machine was still switched on, using a long screw driver.
During his attempt to clean the machinery, the rollers drew his left arm into the machine up to his shoulder. The machinery had to be dismantled in order to release Mr Wasilewski; however as the crush injuries were so severe his arm later had to be amputated at the shoulder.
Mr Wasilewski also required five stitches to the middle finger of his left hand and suffered bruises and scratches to his head, neck, right arm and back.
HSE Investigation & Sentencing
An investigation into the incident on 12 November 2013 found that there were unsafe systems of work being used, including the cleaning of machinery before turning the power off.
W B Daw & Son, of Woodhouse Farm, Pipe Lane, Blithbury, Rugeley, Staffordshire, was found guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,000 at Stafford Magistrates’ Court earlier this year.
HSE Inspector David Brassington said after the case:
“Incidents of this kind are all too common and generally have serious consequences. The onus is on employers to ensure that suitable and sufficient risk assessments are undertaken for work activities involving exposure to dangerous parts of machinery, and to make sure that robust safe systems of work are implemented to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.
“This incident could have easily been avoided had the machine been switched off and securely isolated before cleaning work started. But W B Daw & Son had failed to give clear instructions to its employees and failed to monitor their activities, so a series of unsafe methods of cleaning the potato grader had developed.
“The employer’s failings led to this young man having his arm amputated and he and his family will now have to cope with those serious, life-changing injuries.”
Injury at Work – Expert Advice
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Source: Health & Safety Executive