Loughborough Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 13th August 2017, an employee of Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK Limited was seriously injured when a rock handling belt failed at the company’s plant in Barrow-Upon-Soar, Leicestershire.
Two employees had been clearing rock that had built up around the belt; as the belt had become so compacted it was difficult to remove by hand. Both men went to the isolator end of the belt and removed the local isolation with the guards still removed and pressed the ‘start/stop’ button.
On checking the tail-end of the drum they saw that it had not cleared itself of rock. One of the men went to the opposite side of the tail-end drum to remove the rock and the pair were no longer in visual contact. One colleague pressed the start/stop button again while another’s arm was close enough to the rotating drum for it to be drawn in.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was no risk assessment or safe system of work in place for clearing rock safely from tail-end drums.
Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK Limited of Binley Business Park, Coventry pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. As well as the £400,000 fine, it was ordered to pay costs of £12,945.62.
HSE inspector Michelle Morrison said after the case: “This injury could easily have been prevented, had the risk have been identified. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”