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Manufacturer in Court over Worker’s Arm Injury

A manufacturing firm has been fined for serious safety failings after a worker was injured when his arm was caught between a conveyor belt and roller in a Glasgow factory.

Gordon Blackwood suffered a compound fracture to his wrist and tendon damage to two fingers in the incident in Springburn in August 2012. He had to have surgery to insert a metal plate in his wrist, which has left him weakened as a result, and he still suffers pain in his wrist and fingers.

Mr Blackwood was working with a colleague cleaning a conveyor in the press area at the company’s premises, where fire retardant boards are manufactured, before starting work on a new batch of the boards. His colleague had gone into a cabin to start the conveyor in order to re-align the belt, when Mr Blackwood spotted some mix on the moving conveyor that had been missed.

He attempted to scrape it off using his gloved right hand, but as his hand touched the conveyor it was pulled into an in-running nip point – the gap between the roller and underside of the belt conveyor.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that while his employer had assessed the risks of various tasks within the factory, it had failed to identify the hazard from the in-running nip point on the belt conveyor in the press area.

As a result, there were no control measures in place, such as safety guards, to prevent workers gaining access to the danger zone represented by the in–running nip point.

Following the incident a fixed guard was installed around the in-running nip point.

The company was fined a total of £4,000 after pleading guilty to one charge of breaching Regulation 11(1) and (2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

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