The recent prosecution of a manufacturing company has highlighted the importance of ensuring work such as cleaning and maintenance can be carried out safely on machinery.
The company was fined £3,000 with costs of £1,926 after a worker fell from one of its machines and suffered serious injuries. The employee was working on top of a machine in order to clean the hopper in preparation for a change of material used in the production process. As he stepped off from his position at the top of the machine onto a set of mobile steps, the steps slid away causing him to fall 1.2m to the concrete floor below.
The HSE told the court that the company’s work at height risk assessments were inadequate, its system of work was unsafe, the employee had not received suitable work at height training and he was not properly supervised. In addition, the mobile steps used to access the machine were not suitable for the work.
Following the case the HSE Inspector commented that: “This incident was entirely foreseeable. Though serious, the injuries to this worker could have been very much worse. There were no suitable precautions in place at the time of the incident to prevent a fall from the top of the machine or the mobile steps, which were inadequate for providing a safe means of access. This prosecution should send a strong message to employers that work at height must be properly planned, appropriately supervised, and carried out safely.”
Falls from height are a major cause of injury at work. In 2013/2014 some 2,895 employees suffered a major injury as result of a fall from height, 406 of those were in the manufacturing sector.
Before carrying out any form of maintenance on machinery, employees must carry out a risk assessment to determine how the work can be carried out safely. This would also help with the correct selection of work equipment. In this instance the mobile steps being used were not appropriate for the task.
Off the shelf products are not always the best solution, Bespoke Access Platforms and Step-Overs are ideal for manufacturing applications as they can be constructed to take into account the specific layout of machinery as well as the access requirements for maintenance and cleaning.
Tue, 06/30/2015 – 12:43
The importance of safe working platforms for machinery maintenance
Safe working platforms for machinery maintenance