A cleaner contracted to work at a vegetable packing plant lost nearly 50% of the use of his hand when it was crushed by a machine. The man was cleaning underneath a conveyor belt, when his hand became trapped between two belts and was crushed.
The Health and Safety Executive investigation found that both the vegetable packing company and the man’s employer were at fault, although for different reasons:
• Managers at the vegetable packing plant had failed to put the necessary measures into place that would prevent workers from gaining access to dangerous parts of machines.
• The cleaning contractor had failed to provide sufficient or appropriate health and safety training to its employees, who also lacked supervision.
Both companies were prosecuted as a result of the accident, as businesses have a responsibility to protect all those working on its premises, whether they are employees or contractors. Both companies also received substantial fines and were ordered to pay prosecution costs of approximately £2,500 and £7,500.
Many accidents are foreseeable and avoidable, and when risk is managed correctly, traumatic and debilitating injuries can be avoided.