In the News: Failure to isolate machine results in lost hand and £115K fine


A grandfather whose hand was cut off while he was repairing a boxing-making factory machine has said his injuries are so bad he struggles to pick up his granddaughter for a cuddle. Riftward Limited, trading as Playford Packaging, which employed Christopher, was fined £115,000 for breaching health and safety regulations. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered the company’s risk assessment was neither suitable nor sufficient as it had not considered the risks created from use of the machine, including during maintenance activities. There was no safe system of work in place to ensure safe isolation and access for tasks such as maintenance.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector said “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in that safe system of working.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

A robust LOTO Lock Out Tag Out procedure plays a key role in "safe stop",  ensuring equipment is fully powered down, inoperable, and (where relevant) de-energised in order for maintenance and repair work  to be performed safely. The LOTO process will usually include the use of both locks and tags; the locks physically prevent workers from activating the equipment whilst the tags are a form of hazard communication warning against activating.

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