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Two identical accidents caused by one machine.

The accidents both occurred at the factory of Pirelli Tyres Ltd in Carlisle. The first happened in November 2013 while a worker was loading a machine with materials. His left arm was pulled into the machine by moving rollers and was broken. Almost two years later a second employee suffered a broken arm in near identical circumstances.The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) contain strict rules about guarding.

Regulation 11 requires that effective measures are implemented “to prevent access to any part of dangerous machinery”. It details the requirement to fit fixed guards where it is physically possible to do so.Where fixed guards are impractical, use alternative types, such as adjustable or automated guarding.

The last resort would be to use jigs, i.e. work piece holders, training and other measures to limit the risk of accidental contact.

The HSE carried out an investigation following the accidents. It transpired the machine had been manufactured by Pirelli in 2003 for its own use. However, after the first incident it had not made changes to the guarding.

Pirelli pleaded guilty to two breaches of Regulation 11(1) PUWER. The company was fined £512,000 with costs of £5,820.

If you decide to build machines in-house, ensure that you have sufficient knowledge and the skills to do so. There are complex technical requirements, and you may not have the necessary competency if it is not an everyday occurrence.

There’s no exemption for work equipment which you make and use in-house. It must still be built as though it is intended to be sold on the open market in the EU.
If you are unfamiliar with the standards for a particular type of machinery, start by searching the British Standards Institution for design guidance. Bear in mind that each document could cost around £100.

Regardless of a machine’s origin, when and incident occurs a thorough safety review must be carried out. If guarding is found to be inadequate, the machine must not be used until it has undergone all the appropriate modifications. Although manufacturers and suppliers may also be culpable, don’t think that you can pass the blame for your employee’s involvement. It’s your responsibility to check that it’s right.

Before a new piece of equipment is used, consider all the possible scenarios for its use, cleaning and maintenance. Check how staff could take professional safety advice on how to prevent this.

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