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Poor communication results in worker’s trapped arm

20 September 2021

A RUBBER processing company was fined after a worker’s arm was trapped in machinery.

Tameside Magistrates Court heard how, on 4 January 2018, an employee of Marple Polymers Processors Limited was cleaning a stationary conveyor belt on a Banbury mixing machine.  Unaware cleaning was taking place, another employee started the conveyor belt system. The original employee’s left arm became trapped between the conveyor belt and the tension idler causing serious injuries to their arm and hand.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company’s system of work was unsafe as it relied too heavily on effective communication between employees who were working on the machine in a dark and noisy environment.

Marple Polymer Processors Limited, Stockport, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,269.30.

After the hearing HSE inspector Simon Bland said, “This injury could have easily been prevented had a robust safe system of work been in place which included, for example, the isolation of power to the machine whilst cleaning was carried out.  Employers should properly assess the hazards associated with the operation of machinery and put in place effective control measures which employees understand and follow when operating, maintaining and cleaning machinery”.