HSE prosecutes timber merchant

Published:  13 October, 2009

HEREFORDSHIRE: Pontrilas Timber & Builders' Merchants was prosecuted after a worker had his hand pulled into a machine and nailed to a pallet.

Yesterday Hereford Magistrates Court fined the merchant £3500 and ordered it pay £8973 costs.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 in the prosecution brought by Health & Safety Executive.

The employee was operating an automatic wooden pallet-making machine in March last year when the incident happened.

The machine started unexpectedly, drawing the man's right hand in and trapping it beneath a beam of nailing hammers. It then nailed the man's hand and wrist to the top of a pallet.

There was no guard or protective device across the front of the machine to prevent access to dangerous moving parts of the machinery.

Luke Messenger, HSE inspector said: "This was a horrific incident that could have been easily prevented.

"Automated machinery like this, where people are required to feed materials in, always runs the risk of trapping arms and hands. Guards or protective devices should be provided. The fact the machinery started unexpectedly was an added complication, but with the proper safety precautions in place, the injured party's hands wouldn't have been able to be pulled inside."

Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: "Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken...to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone."

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