Concrete manufacturer fined after worker’s arm pulled into machine

Posted on 28 Jun 2013 by The Manufacturer

An Ayrshire concrete manufacturer has been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered serious injuries to his arm when it became entangled in a machine.

Hillhouse Precast Concrete, based in Troon, was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Employee Christopher Fay was using a rolling machine to flatten concrete in a mould when his glove became caught in a metal D-ring connecting the roller to the handle. His arm was drawn into the roller as it turned, breaking it in two places.

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court was told that around a month before the incident took place on 18 January 2010, the machine’s handle was leaking hydraulic fluid and had been replaced.

On the day of the incident the machine was restarted remotely by an employee who was unable to see Mr Fay and other staff working at the roller. Mr Fay was standing close to the machine and his glove was caught in the machinery.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the company had failed to recognise that the ‘hold to run’ control switch was a safety feature of the device and failed to maintain it appropriately.

Mr Fay needed two plates surgically inserted in his arm and physiotherapy treatment. He no longer has full strength in his right arm leaving him unable to lift heavy loads and has been left with scarring. He has since returned to work with a different company.

Following the case HSE Inspector Mark Carroll said: “While this offence came about through an inadvertent mistake rather than any deliberate failure to comply with standards, not replacing the control switch with a similar ‘hold to run’ device, removed the only safety feature to protect workers from the concrete roller starting unexpectedly.

“As a result Mr Fay was badly injured and permanently scarred. Hillhouse Precast Concrete Ltd has introduced measures and bought new equipment to avoid a repeat of the incident, but it could have been prevented by better consideration of how the repair work affected the safe operation of the roller.”