Unmaintained machine guards: Firm fined for repeated safety breaches
A woodworking firm has been fined thousands of pounds for repeatedly failing to maintain guards on its machinery.
Barkingside Magistrates’ Court was told how employees had been exposed to the risk of serious injury because their radial arm drill was not fitted with an effective telescopic guard or trip device, and the housing on a re-saw blade and self-return function on their cross-cut saw had not been maintained. These failures were found despite the company having received previous enforcement action from the HSE on similar issues.
Ashwell Recycled Timber Products Limited of Wick Place Farm, Bulphan, Upminster, pleaded guilty to two breaches of Regulation 5(1) and one of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £12,000 with costs of £2,831.75.
Speaking after the case HSE Inspector Dominic Elliss said: “In this case, the company completely failed to grasp the importance of installing and maintaining basic but essential guards to prevent access to the dangerous parts of woodworking machinery.
“Companies should be aware that HSE may bring prosecutions where dutyholders continually fail to address risks in the workplace. Woodworking machinery relies on the provision and ongoing maintenance of suitable guards to prevent significant injuries occurring, and businesses should take this opportunity to review their own arrangements and ensure they are sufficiently robust.”
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