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Man had his hand severed in machinery
A sand and gravel supplier has been fined for safety failings after an employee had three tendons in his hand severed.
Jamie Roden, 26, from Telford, was trying to clear a blockage in a machine used to bag quarried material when his hand was caught by a dangerous heat-sealing device with a blade inside.
Mr Roden had only been employed by Salop Sand & Gravel Supply Company Ltd for four months when the incident happened at Wildmoor Quarry, Sandy Lane in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire on 15 September 2011.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told Redditch Magistrates' Court today that Mr Roden was attempting to clear the blockage by opening the doors on a 'form, fill, seal' machine, which creates, fills and seals plastic sacks of quarried materials. Because an interlock system to cut the power supply when the doors were opened did not work, the machine kept running. The heat sealer slammed onto Mr Roden's left hand, severing three tendons.
Mr Roden was unable to return to work due to his injuries and has since left the company. Eight months on since the incident, he has only just been able to find another job.
HSE prosecuted Salop Sand & Gravel Supply Company Ltd after an investigation revealed a number of failings which allowed Mr Roden to access the machine when it was still powered. A machine guard had been available since 2007 but hadn't been fitted and the firm had failed to ensure the interlocks on the doors were sufficiently maintained. A suitable and sufficient risk assessment had not been carried out.
After the hearing HSE inspector David Evans said:
"This incident could have been easily avoided if simple measures had been taken by the company. These include fitting a machine guard, which in fact, had been available at the company since 2007, and maintaining the interlocks.
"On the day of the incident, because the interlocks on the door hinges had not been maintained, the doors could be opened while still powered. The opening onto the conveyor was also excessively large, which meant that it was possible for Mr Roden or other employees to reach into this gap without the doors being opened at all.
"What is particularly alarming is that these sorts of blockages happened on a regular basis - up to 20 times during a 12 hour shift - so the company was aware but didn't take sufficient action to protect its employees. Mr Roden suffered serious injuries which needed painful surgery and was unable to work for a prolonged period."
Salop Sand & Gravel Supply Company Ltd of Admaston, Wellington, Telford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The company was fined £3,300 and ordered to pay costs of £3,491.