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Safe System of Work Could Have Prevented Accident

By May 18, 2021May 20th, 2021Case Review, Health and Safety
Safe System of Work | Health and Safety

A mattress manufacturer was fined after an employee was dragged into machine and suffered multiple injuries.  This article shows how accidents can happen if machines are not checked properly and the correct safety control measures are not evident. It also shows how easy it is to access moving parts of machines.  Where there is a lack of safe working systems, staff do not have anything they can reference and therefore mistakes could happen which can lead to fatal accidents. 

Inadequate Safe System of Work

A Nottingham mattress manufacturer has been fined after an employee of the company suffered multiple injuries to his arm, shoulder, ribs, and neck after he was drawn into a NG-06 Semi-Automatic Mattress Rolling Machine (MRM). 

Nottingham Magistrates Court heard how Dreamtouch Mattresses Ltd failed to prevent access to the dangerous parts of machinery.  The common practice at the site was for employees to use their hands, and or arms when feeding and pressing mattresses on the unguarded rotating winding film reel. Employees at the site confirmed there was no documented safe system of work or training for the use of the machine. 

An investigation by The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company did not prevent access to the dangerous parts of the machine and had not implemented a suitable and sufficient safe system of work which would direct employees to not place their hands close to the dangerous parts of the machine. 

Dreamtouch Mattresses Ltd, Chelsea House, Chelsea Street, Nottingham, NG7 7HP pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £66,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,836.20. 

Risks Should Have Been Identified 

The HSE commented after the hearing: “This injury was easily preventable, and the risk should have been identified.  Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”  Source Health & Safety Executive 

Health & Safety Learning Points

  • This is a warning to all companies that the use of equipment and machines for production/manufacturing/cleaning or for any process to check they are safe, serviced and all safety features are working correctly. 
  • All such machines would fall under the PUWER regulations and need to be thoroughly checked and serviced by a competent engineer 
  • All staff should be trained in the correct operation of the machine and at no point should be reaching into a working machine
  • There should be risk assessments in place to safeguard such issues
  • Daily equipment checks should be in place to determine if the machine is safe to use
  • Managers should also be checking and sampling equipment in its safe use and operation
  • Always consider looking at HSE guidance also.

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