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UK HSE – worker struck in the face by a crane hook

What happened

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has fined a manufacturer after an employee lost an eye when he was struck in the face by a crane hook. The worker was attempting to free a paper reel, which had become stuck on the exit rails of a paper machine, by using an overhead crane. During the operation, part of the crane contacted the spinning reel, causing the crane hook to swing violently striking the man in the face. He suffered the loss of an eye, multiple fractures to the face and lost 9 teeth. See press release here.

What went wrong

  • The company had:
    • Failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment to identify the hazards posed when the machinery went wrong and did not function correctly;
    • Failed to ensure that control measures were in place to keep workers safe;
    • Failed to provide workers with information and instructions on what to do when machinery went wrong and did not function correctly – something which was happening regularly.

Lessons learned

  • Risk assessment should include the hazards involved in non-routine operations and in dealing with things going wrong;
  • Information should be provided for everyone working near machinery on what could go wrong and what to do when it does;
  • Be aware of “routine violations” where it may become normal to break rules or put yourself in danger to get the job done.

Members may wish to refer to:

Safety Event

Published: 12 September 2023
Download: IMCA SF 22/23

Relevant life-saving rules:
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