Diss/Wherstead: Firm fined after worker Christopher Brennan loses arm in conveyor accident

A FIRM will have to pay out nearly �30,000 after one of its workers lost an arm in an industrial accident.

BOCM Pauls Ltd, one of the UK’s leading animal feed manufacturers, was fined after being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Christopher Brennan, 35, from Norwich, was attempting to clear a blockage on a conveyor at the firm’s site in Burston near Diss when his right arm became entangled and was severed just below the elbow. Since the incident on September 20, 2011, he has been unable to work.

Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard today that BOCM Pauls Ltd had failed to provide a safe system of work for production staff to clear blockages on conveyors and there were no guards to prevent access to the unblocking hatch.

HSE said it prosecuted the company after its investigation found that blockages happened regularly but there were inadequate methods for clearing them. In addition isolators for the conveyors’ power supply were located out of reach with no safe means to access them.

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The firm, whose main office is at Valley Lane, Wherstead, was fined �20,000 and told to pay �9,716 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was also ordered to pay a �15 victim surcharge.

HSE inspector Steven Gill, speaking after the court hearing, said: “This worker should never have been put in a position where he was able to gain access to the conveyor to clear a blockage while it was possible that the machine could be restarted.

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“BOCM Pauls Ltd had not provided a suitable guard and the isolator switch was installed in an out-of-reach position.

“As a result of these serious safety failings, Mr Brennan has suffered a life-changing injury. Sadly, despite the attempts by the hospital, he lost his right arm below the elbow.

“The incident could have been prevented had there been appropriate guarding in place. This type of injury is not uncommon in the manufacturing industries. Safeguarding measures are well known and have been put in place by the company following the incident.”

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