HSE warns about the importance of proper maintenance of machinery

Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association (SOHSA) on 2008-07-01 07:58:57

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today highlighted the importance of companies conducting planned maintenance checks on machinery after inspectors discovered several faults which could have killed employees at a West Lothian food processing plant. The warning comes as Grampian Country Pork Halls Ltd of Aberdeen, were fined £2,000 at Livingston Sheriff Court  yesterday (Tuesday 24 July), after pleading guilty on failing to provide and maintain plant and systems of work that are safe and without risks to health.  When HSE Inspectors visited Grampian Country Pork Halls Ltd, Broxburn, they found serious faults with a piece of machinery, which had the potential to cause a fatal electric shock to anyone coming into contact with it.  An immediate Prohibition Notice was served, preventing the machinery – a metal detector on a food production line – from being used. Within the food industry in particular all equipment must be cleaned thoroughly, however with electrical equipment, and particularly when there is a significant amount of water present, electrical injuries such as electric shocks or electric burns are a very real possibility so it is vital that necessary precautions be taken. HSE found that the Grampian Country Pork Halls Ltd ‘s maintenance regime was insufficient and failed to uncover obvious faults, and following an incident where an employee received an electric shock, Grampian Country Pork Halls Ltd failed to identify the cause.      HSE Inspector Lindsey Reid said: "A fatal incident could have occurred in the circumstances which we found on site at Grampian Country Pork Halls Ltd in Broxburn.  When we conducted a routine inspection at the plant following the electric shock incident, we discovered that the metal detector was still in a dangerous condition and immediately prevented its use." "The company’s inspection system was inadequate so they failed to identify serious faults.  This resulted in machinery remaining in operation in a very dangerous condition where workers would only have been aware of the fault by touching the equipment." Grampian Country Pork Halls Ltd, pleaded guilty to a breach of section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety  at Work Act 1974.

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