April 7, 2014
British recycler Biffa Group Ltd. has been fined for safety breaches after a worker lost the tips of two fingers in unguarded machinery.
The 28-year-old man was trying to remove tape that had become wrapped around the external chain drive of a sorting machine at the firm’s site in Derby, England, when the incident happened on 4 February 2013.
Derby Magistrates’ Court heard testimony that the glove he was wearing became entangled on the moving chains, which severed the tips of his little and ring fingers on his right hand.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the machine had been fitted with the external chain drive following a breakdown, and brought back into use without it being adequately guarded. After it was fitted, the machine got blocked more often and workers had not received adequate training in the safe isolation of the drive.
Biffa, based in High Wycombe, was fined a total of 20,000 pounds ($33,230) and ordered to pay costs of 1,542 pounds ($2,562) after admitting two counts of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Edward Walker said: “The company was fully aware of the requirement for the chains to be guarded, and had made arrangements for guards to be added later that week, yet still allowed the machine to be used before that happened.
“As a result, a man suffered a painful injury that could have been prevented.”