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UK HSE: Poor control of work – worker suffered serious injuries

An individual supervisor – not the company – has been sentenced for safety breaches after a worker became entangled in a conveyor belt sustaining serious injuries to his hand and arm.

What happened

A worker was working on a conveyor belt when it became damaged and needed repair. The worker started work to repair the conveyor line, when it started moving and his arm became entangled, which caused muscle and tissue damage.

What was the cause?

Investigation found that the site supervisor, who had control of the site in the absence of the site manager, was responsible for completing a Permit to Work for the repair work and isolating the line. However, on his way to complete the Permit to Work he became distracted by another matter and the Permit to Work and isolation were not completed. This meant that the conveyor belt restarted during the repair work injuring the employee.

The inspector said: “The site supervisor failed to implement company policy and procedure in respect of Permits to Work and isolation. This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

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