Lincoln Man Loses Arm in Recycling Plant Accident

A man in Lincoln has lost his arm in an incident at a recycling plant in Scunthorpe due to the failure of his employers to implement adequate health and safety measures. The man, who was 23 at the time of the incident, had his arm severed at the shoulder on March 8, 2011 after attempting to clear a blockage on a conveyer, which is a piece of a metal sorting line.

The man, who worked at a picking station, was busy with his work – which involved taking pieces of copper off the conveyer – when he discovered that something was caught. He attempted to clear the blockage with the use of a stick, common practice at the plant, but his right arm was caught by the machine.

The man was hospitalised for a week, however surgeons were not able to reattach his arm. Consequently, he could no longer work at the former City Scrap Ltd in Scunthorpe. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident; it discovered numerous dangers at the site which led to the company’s prosecution at Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court.

Some of the concerns raised about City Scrap included the absence of and/or inadequate guarding around moving machine parts, no emergency stop buttons provided on processing lines, an absence of a safe system of work and insufficient training given to employees. The HSE gave City Scrap Ltd of Dale Street in Lincoln four Prohibition Notices and also to a further notice related to working at a height. On April 17 the company was fined £20,000, in addition to being ordered pay £8,964 in costs following a guilty plea for violating Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Andrew Gale, a HSE Inspector, said on the matter –

“A young man suffered horrific, life-changing injuries in an incident that was easily preventable. City Scrap Ltd should have had fixed guarding, properly secured, to prevent access to dangerous moving parts. In addition safe procedures should have been in place for clearing blockages, including isolation of power to the machinery. The waste and recycling sector has one of the worst records for injury incidents across all industries and yet the dangers of working with machinery and in the waste business are well known. Employers must ensure they take effective measures to address these risks and properly train their staff to carry out tasks safely.”