Ibstock Brick Ltd faces enforcement action and fine after worker loses hand

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UK brick manufacturer Ibstock Brick Ltd fined after worker’s hand becomes entangled and wrapped around rotating shaft on a lathe

On 28 February 2020, North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard how a maintenance engineer had attempted to polish a rotating metal shaft in a manual lathe with an emery cloth directly by a gloved hand.

The cloth became entangled around the rotating shaft and dragged the worker into the lathe, causing his hand to be severed in the machine.

Surgery was required and this engineer had below the elbow amputated.

The investigation

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concluded that there were failures in the arrangements and controls for the task performed.

Ibstock Brick Ltd had not performed an adequate risk assessment on the cleaning process and failed to identify, assess and address the risk associated with the direct manual application of emery cloth to the workpiece or the use of gloves.

HSE declared inadequate training, instructions, and supervision with said cleaning task.

The verdict

The company has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety Act 1974 and have been fined £530,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,548.20

‘Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action’

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Marie-Louise Riley-Roberts said:

“Those in control of work have a responsibility to assess risk and devise safe methods of working in which their employees should then be instructed and trained.

“If Ibstock Brick Ltd had, had effective managerial arrangements in place for the task undertaken and ensured their employees were following a safe system of work, based upon risk assessment, safe systems of work, supervision, information, instruction and training, then the life changing injuries sustained by this worker could have been prevented.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards”.

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