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This incident may have been prevented if appropriate guarding had been provided.

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Taken from Agg-Net Employee suffers serious leg injury while clearing blockage in poorly guarded brick-making machine A ROMSEY brick-making firm has been prosecuted after one of its employees suffered crush injuries to his leg in a poorly guarded machine. Nikoloz Demetrashvili was in hospital for three weeks with a multiple fracture of his right leg after the incident at Michelmersh Brick & Tile Co. Ltd on 12 October 2011.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found that flawed protective measures meant the worker was able to access dangerous parts of a brick-making machine while it was still ‘live’. Southampton Magistrates heard this week that

Mr Demetrashvili had been trying to free a blockage caused when two trays dropped on a brick mould rather than one. In an attempt to clear it, he followed work instructions and disabled pressure-sensitive mats designed to prevent access to the machine as he needed power running to free the trapped tray. Although the power was on, the machine was not in production mode but sensors were still active.

Mr Demetrashvili then climbed on the machine to reach the tray, as he had done on previous occasions to free blockages. As he leant over the turntable and pulled the tray, a sensor activated and the turntable rotated, crushing his leg and trapping him in the machine. After the incident, the HSE served an Improvement Notice on Michelmersh Brick and Tile Co Ltd requiring further safeguarding of the machine. The company complied by removing a switch that allowed the pressure mat to be overridden, meaning it is no longer possible for operators to access the machinery while there is power running to it.

Michelmersh Brick and Tile Company Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. They were fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £4,945 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Daniel Hilbourne said: ‘This case highlights the importance of ensuring proper guarding of dangerous machinery at all times. It is vital for employers to ensure that staff cannot get dangerously close to machinery that is either moving or is likely to move with people in the immediate area.

‘Had the pressure mat been configured properly, it would have prevented the machine from operating with anyone near it. Sadly, Mr Demetrashvili has been left with very serious and life-changing injuries because of safety failures that could easily have been avoided. ‘This prosecution is a reminder to firms of the need to carefully consider the risks of machinery and to identify and implement adequate controls to protect their employees.’

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