Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK has been fined £400,000 after an employee suffered injuries resulting in his left arm being amputated.
Loughborough Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 13 August 2017, a 48-year-old employee of Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK was seriously injured when a rock handling belt failed at the company’s plant in Barrow-Upon-Soar, Leicestershire.
Two employees had been clearing rock that had built up around the belt; as the belt had become so compacted it was difficult to remove by hand. Both men went to the isolator end of the belt and removed the local isolation with the guards still removed and pressed the ‘start/stop’ button. On checking the tail-end of the drum they saw it had not cleared itself of rock. One of the men went to the opposite side of the tail-end drum to remove the rock and the pair were no longer in visual contact. His colleague pressed the start/stop button again whilst his colleague’s arm was in close proximity to the rotating drum and his arm was drawn in.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there was no risk assessment or safe system of work in place for clearing rock safely from tail-end drums.
Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK Limited of Binley Business Park, Coventry pled guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,945.62.
Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Michelle Morrison said: “This injury could easily have been prevented, had the risk have been identified. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery”.
Responding to the judgement, a spokesperson for Saint-Gobain said: “We were deeply saddened and shocked by this accident and have expressed our deepest regret for the accident and sympathies for the injuries sustained by our colleague. While at British Gypsum he was a skilled, well respected and competent member of the team, having worked at Barrow for 29 years.
“Safety is at the foundation of our business; it always has been and remains our number one priority. Our approach to safety is built on robust systems and processes, reinforced by behavioural based safety, all of which are designed to prevent employees being hurt at work.
“Our commitment to safety is clear through our ‘TargetZero’ strategy and has been recognised positively through our company-wide employee survey, in saying that, we will never take Health & Safety for granted.”