Cemex UK Operations Limited has been fined £1m following a fatality in Scotland when a worker was struck by a centering machine lifting mast.
Livingston Sheriff Court heard that on 13 May 2017, James Brownlie was carrying out maintenance and repair work on a dry sided conveyor at the site in West Calder, part of which ran under a machine known as a centering machine. The centering machine was not isolated at the time and part of Mr Brownlie’s body interrupted the path of the light beam between the sensor’s emitter and reflector. This caused the machine’s lifting mast to activate and descend, striking him on the body and causing internal injuries from which he died a short time later. The fatal accident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Fatal Accident Investigation
During the investigation, the HSE found that Cemex UK Operations Limited failed to ensure the centering machine was isolated prior to the maintenance and repair work being carried out on the conveyor.
Cemex UK Operations Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and Section 33 (1) (a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 and was fined £1,000,000.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Kim Ross said: “This tragic incident led to the avoidable death of a man, which could have easily been prevented if had taken action to ensure the centering machine was isolated prior to the maintenance and repair work being carried out.
“If this had been in place before the incident, James Brownlie’s death could have been prevented.”
The case highlights the importance of having risk assessments in respect of workplace machinery which cover not only normal operations but also maintenance activities. If you require advice regarding health and safety in your workplace please contact one of the Jacksons team.