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BUILDING MATERIALS MANUFACTURER FINED AFTER FATALITY

Company prosecuted after fatal injuries inflicted by mixing machine blades

A building materials manufacturer and its director have been fined a total of £20k after a former soldier died following injuries caused by an industrial mixing machine blade

HSE prosecuted Bury-based Building Chemical Research (1984) Ltd (BCR) and company director Stuart Reich, 62, following the dearth of Paul Palmer at the company premises in 2005.

Mr Palmer was working inside the powerful, slow speed mixer undertaking a cleaning operation on 30 August 2005 when the power was energised by another employee.

Bolton Crown Court heard that it should have been isolated and impossible to switch on the machine while someone was inside.

Guard inadequate and safety switches failed

BCR was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 towards the cost of the prosecution on 20 September. The company’s director, Stuart Reich of Gisburn Road, Gisburn, Lancashire, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

Both admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of employees.

HSE inspector Alan Meyer said:

“This was a totally avoidable incident that resulted in the tragic death of an employee. The guard on the mixer was totally inadequate and both the safety switches failed.

“Had the machine had a proper guard and a working cut-out switch, Mr Palmer would still be alive today.”

 Comment 

This horrific incident highlights the importance of strict maintenance regimes for safety critical components on machinery.

In addition, a programme of guard and interlock testing is the only way to avoid such tragedies. When was the power interlocking device(s) on the project screed pump last tested? You may be surprised what you find.

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