Firm fined £8,000 after man loses arm

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MOIRA based Clarehill Plastics Ltd has been fined £8,000 plus £1,500 costs at Craigavon Crown Court following an incident in which a man lost an arm.

The company had previously plead guilty to breaches of Article 4 of the Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978 and Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (NI) 1999. The case arose following an investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) into an incident which occurred in their factory at Moira, on January last year.

Justin Guiney, a 20 year old maintenance engineer, was carrying out unplanned maintenance on a rotational moulding machine.

During the operation Mr Guiney’s clothing got caught between two unguarded gear wheels pulling him into the machine and amputating his arm at the shoulder.

The HSENI investigation revealed that while Clarehill Plastics Ltd was in possession of guards for the machine, they had been removed a number of months previously and never refitted.

No suitable measures to isolate and lock off were in place to ensure such maintenance tasks could be completed in a safe manner.

After the hearing Mr Jonathan Knox, an inspector with HSENI said: “The results of this avoidable incident will be experienced by this young man for the rest of his life.

“One in three workplace deaths are caused by maintenance failures. It is essential that companies take suitable measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.

“In addition to this, machinery should be switched off and secured so that it remains off until work is complete and employees are away from any danger. All types of maintenance work must be properly planned and supervised, so that workers are not injured or killed.”

For more information on Safe Maintenance visit www.hseni.gov.uk/safemaintenance