HSE warns employers to consider risks to young persons following prosecution of

Monday, 23rd Jun '08 at 08:34

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned employers to ensure they assess workplace risks for young people. The warning follows HSE’s prosecution of a metal fabrication company in Suffolk, after a young worker’s finger was amputated by unguarded parts of a machine.

Sharward Steel Fabrications Ltd of Wimbledon Avenue in Brandon, was fined £1000 and ordered to pay costs of £1345.10 at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates Court on Friday (May 30) after pleading guilty to Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

On 24th October 2006, a 16-year-old Sharward Steel Fabrications employee from Brandon, was working with the director of the company cutting sheet metal on a guillotine. The director John Ward was then called away to answer a phone call, and the young employee continued cutting the sheet metal.

There was no front guard on the machine, so he managed to push the metal far under the blade and accidentally pressed down the foot pedal, which brought the guillotine down and took the end of one of his fingers off.

The HSE investigation identified that the machine was not adequately guarded as the director had previously removed the guard and the investigation also identified a lack of training and supervision for such a young person.

HSE Inspector, Julie Jarvey said:

"The dangers of using these machines without suitable safeguards are well known. Serious injuries such as amputation can result when limbs, or parts of limbs, are able to access dangerous parts of the machine. This serious incident could and should have been prevented by the company by ensuring that the dangerous parts were adequately guarded. Young persons are particularly vulnerable and companies need to ensure proper risk assessments and training is carried out for this type of employee.

"This case illustrates how things can go wrong when risks are not properly controlled and HSE will not hesitate to take action against those who fall short of the law in such a way."

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