A Northern Ireland company dealing with tyre recycling failed to put in place vital safety measures to protect employees using a conveyor.
The occurrence took place on 22nd July 2011 at OM Tyre Recycling Limited’s plant in Mayobridge. Andrzei Zamela was trying to clear an impasse of shredded tyre pieces that had accumulated on an operating conveyor.
Safety Guarding Removed
A side guard fixed around the tail pulley had been removed and as he was clearing the blockage, his right hand was dragged into the machine. His right hand was seriously severed and he has not able to go back to work ever since.
When the HSNEI visited the scene to investigate the incident on the same day the incident took place, they learnt that the conveyor was prone to impasses and the company had not put in place any safe system of work to clear the debris. The inspectors also noted that that the conveyor did not have a pull-cord emergency-stop button.
The firm was given a Prohibition Notice that required that it stops using the machine until it is installed suitable guards. Inspector Denise Donoghy who is the head HSENI major investigations team said that the incident could have been avoided and that it serves to highlight the risks involved when removing blockages from machinery. He added that it was very important for firms to identify and address all the hazards in the work place.
He concluded by saying that all firms must ensure that all guards remain in place and that all procedures to ensure that no work is carried out while the conveyor is still moving are in place.
OM Tyre Recycling Limited appeared before Newry Crown Court on November 8th 2012 and pleaded guilty to charges of breaching:
- Article 4 (1) of the Safety and Health at Work Order (NI) 1978-for not ensuring adequate safety of the workers;
- Reg. 8 (1) of PUWER (NI) 1999- for its failure to provide workers with written manuals on how to operate the machines;
- Reg. 11 (2)(a) and reg. (1)(a) of PUWER (NI) 1999- for its failure to prevent employee access to the dangerous and risky parts of the machine; and
- Reg.16 (1) of PUWER (NI) 1999- because it did not have an emergency stop control in place.
The firm was slapped with a total fine of £7,500 and ordered to pay costs amounting to £1,764. It was also issued with a 12-month conditional discharge.
In its mitigation, the firm said that it had cooperated fully with the investigations and that it had now put in place adequate guards on the conveyor. The firm did not have any previous safety convictions.