Recent prosecutions – employee seriously injured by unguarded machinery

In our June 2022 newsletter, we covered a machinery-related accident that caused severe damage to an operative’s hand. Unfortunately, these incidents are all too common. Early this year, an export services company was fined £21,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,954 after an employee suffered serious injuries while cutting wooden batons.

In this case, the employee's left index finger was partially severed when it came into contact with an unguarded part of a radial arm saw blade.

The HSE investigation found that the adjustable front guard of the saw blade had not been properly maintained, resulting in broken wing nuts that rendered the guard inoperable.

Reducing machinery risks in your builders merchant

The lesson from this accident is simple: ensure that your machinery is suitably maintained and kept in good working order. The cost and time of maintenance are nothing compared to the human and financial costs of a serious injury caused by substandard equipment.

  • Regular maintenance, coupled with an appropriate pre-use check, will ensure the machinery is fit for purpose.
  • To prevent injuries, include machinery and guards in your risk assessment process.
  • Implement a routine maintenance schedule and highlight performance issues with on-the-spot checks before use.
  • Thoroughly train staff on machinery use, providing refresher sessions as needed.
  • Take a zero-tolerance stance on removing or overriding guards. Regularly monitor and enforce this policy – from frontline operatives to management – and support staff with additional training, if required.
  • Display signage to warn operatives of machinery hazards – and how to deal with them.
  • Educate staff about emergency stop controls and ensure employees understand what to do in the event of an accident.

Get expert advice and targeted employee training

We’ve helped business merchants across the country prevent accidents and create a safety-conscious workforce. Talk to our team about personalised H&S programmes and training strategies for your business.

Get in touch or book a call with an Opus consultant.