Recycling Company Fined After Worker Loses an Arm on Dangerous Conveyor

Recycling Company Fined After Worker Loses an Arm on Dangerous Conveyor

MSK Waste Management and Recycling Ltd has been fined for safety failings after an employee lost his right arm after he trapped it between a roller and a moving conveyor belt at a site in North East London.
Domingos da Conceicao Freitas 28 had his right arm amputated after an incident at MSK Waste Management and Recycling Ltd on River Road Barking on 17 August 2012. Mr Freitas is now no longer able to work and has difficulties with everyday tasks such as washing and dressing.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Kent-based company MSK following an investigation that discovered that the conveyor system posed a clear risk because the important safety guards were missing.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard (23 October) that the agency worker Mr Freitas was working on a picking line sorting waste and transfer materials into different bins.
The conveyor got blocked and Mr Freitas was asked by a supervisor to clear it while he and other workers went on a break.
The workers had a system in place to clear blockages in which they used a piece of wire that was pushed through an opening in the side of the conveyor frame to hook the items from between the belt and the roller.
This method had been in place for an indiscriminate amount of time and it was a job that required two to three people – one person to hold the wire one to stop the conveyor using a control panel which was nearly 75 feet away and on a separate level and another to act as a go-between relaying instructions.
Mr Freitas tried to do this on his own and due to him being so far away from the control panel the conveyor was still switched on.
His right arm was caught and drawn into the roller as he inspected the opening in the frame.
The HSE found that there were two openings in the conveyor neither of these were guarded despite sliding guards being available.
Magistrates were the told that if the guards had been in place the incident would have been preventable. They also felt that the way of clearing blockages wasn’t a very safe system.
MSK Waste Management and Recycling Ltd registered to Station Road Sidcup Kent received a £10000 fine and had to pay £5944 in costs and £5000 in compensation following them pleading guilty to a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

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