Working with machinery tends to carry a risk, but this risk is multiplied if adequate training and instruction are not provided, or if moving parts are not guarded. There are numerous accidents every year involving machinery and these incidents can have a terrible impact on the lives of those involved.
A metal polishing company in the West Midlands was recently prosecuted following two accidents that occurred within five months of each other. Both employees had their hands dragged into polishing machines, and both sustained serious injuries: poor grip, loss of sensation and tendon damage. Extensive skin grafts were needed for both of the men, neither of whom has been able to return to work.
The Health and Safety Executive investigation into the incidents revealed that the absence of appropriate machine guards and a lack of training meant that the risk of injury or accident was ever present and very real.
Despite the fact that some improvements had been made following the first accident, they only addressed the failings that had led to the first incident. They did not address other, similar risks. Thorough risk assessments and appropriate health and safety training are essential if this type of accident is to be prevented.