As an employer, you have to make sure your workplace is free from preventable hazards. Machinery often poses hazards that can’t be removed but can be minimised.

Guards are one way of minimising the risks from machine hazards. But any negligence showing a lack of effort on your part to minimise the hazards is unacceptable.

A recent case on this point has seen a recycling company receive a fine after a worker’s arm was dragged into unguarded machinery.

The employee was working on a carpet recycling line when his arm became trapped between a conveyor and roller.

Poor effort

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had not assessed the risk and guarded the machine’s rear access point.

The injured worker had also told his employer about the missing rear guard. But no action had been taken.

Sentence

Anglo Recycling Ltd pleaded guilty to breaking the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

It was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,500.

The HSE said the case is a ‘stark reminder’ of the penalty for not adequately guarding machinery.

Safe systems of work must be in place.

Ellis Whittam discusses machinery guarding further here.

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