Egg company shells out £3k for machine-guarding failings
An egg-packing business has admitted putting employees at risk by not having adequate guarding in place on a number of machines at its factory in Scotland.
Workers employed by the partnership known as James Gammie had to use a specific machine, called a screw conveyor, to clear away chicken manure from each of the company’s three sheds at its premises in Leightonhill Farm, Brechin.
In November 2008, an HSE inspector visited the site and identified that the guarding on each of the screw conveyors did not adequately prevent access to the moving parts of the machinery. The conveyors sat in a trench in the shed and there were no guards to prevent workers from stepping on to the dangerous parts of the machines.
The inspector issued a Prohibition Notice, which required the machines to be taken out of service until adequate guards were installed. He also issued an Improvement Notice to instruct the firm to install adequate washing facilities in the sheds, and to provide first-aid provisions.
HSE Principal Inspector Peter Dodd, said: “Unguarded machinery continues to be a major cause of serious incidents. This case shows that where HSE inspectors find blatant disregard for the law they will not hesitate to take action against those responsible for creating the risk.
“In many cases, including this one, simple and inexpensive solutions are readily available to protect those who have to work with machinery and there is no excuse for them not to be in place.”
James Gammie was fined £3000 after pleading guilty at Forfar Sheriff Court on 13 January to breaching reg. 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. No costs are awarded in Scotland.
In mitigation, the firm said it had no previous convictions and had complied with the enforcement notices by installing guards around the trench. It provided staff with a first-aid box and also hired a temporary toilet with washing facilities.
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