Dangerous Machinery and Falls Result in Prosecutions

Dangerous Machinery and Falls Result in Prosecutions

Figures have recently been released which show that the two most common reasons for health and safety based prosecutions in the North West are falls from a height and dangerous machinery. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) brought 65 successful prosecutions between April 2013 and April 2014 and of these 14 involved working at height and 12 featured unsafe machinery. Fine levels have been increased in recent legislation and in the area one recycling plant was fined £46,000 when a worker almost lost an arm in inadequately guarded machinery.

Preventing deaths is of paramount importance

Figures vary year on year but on average, 23 people die in work related accidents in the North West in any 12 month period, with on average 181 people dying across the country as a whole. In 2012/13, as in most years, falls from heights account for around a third of these. Manufacturing industries accounted for around 20% of the fatal injuries, although that sector only represents 10% of the UK total workforce. It is clear that more needs to be done to make workplaces safer, as Steven Smith, HSE’s Head of Operations in the North West said recently:- ‘It’s vital that firms carrying out work at height do more to stop employees being injured in falls. That could include using scaffolding or harnesses, or installing netting under fragile roof panels. Factories also need to do more to make sure their machines are safe to use. That means installing suitable guards to prevent workers being trapped by dangerous moving parts and ensuring that maintenance work is carried out safely.’

Training courses are vital to keep safety levels up

Whilst it is of course the employer’s responsibility to keep workers safe by providing the correct equipment and safety measures, these are useless unless the staff have been adequately trained in their use. Boss Training have many different courses on offer and all bring a fuller understanding of the health and safety responsibilities of everyone towards their colleagues and themselves. Often, employers are seen as the ‘baddies’ in the case when someone is injured but when staff are trained in risk assessment, maintenance and safety procedures, accidents lessen in frequency because they can advise the company on any changes that need to be made, which is usually welcome.

The right course for the job

Training has to be relevant to be useful and this is why Boss Training has so many on offer, covering basic levels for all staff, management applications and courses for those at the ‘sharp end’. Courses are all based on the recommendations of the relevant professional body, for example IPAF training and can even be tailored to a particular workplace, so training is relevant and does not swamp a candidate with unnecessary information. Working at a height training is covered at many levels, but there are also more specific courses such as confined spaces training, working with machinery and many more. Training is the way to make the workplace safer – with adequate training across the workforce, deaths at work could be a thing of the past.