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Recycling firm fined after worker breaks arm

A Birmingham metal recycling company has been prosecuted after a worker trapped and broke his arm in an unguarded conveyor belt, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced.

The 28 year-old man, from Blackheath, employed as a recycler, was attempting to retrieve a piece of scrap metal that had got stuck in the conveyor at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Limited, based in Nechells, on 20 April 2010.

Hawkeswood Metal Recycling Limited, of Trevor Street, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 for its failings.

The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay  £10,056 in costs.

Birmingham Crown Court heard on 26 July that he initially used a mop and then his right hand to free the metal.  

However his glove got caught between the conveyor belt and a rotating roller, dragging his arm into the machinery.

As well as breaking his right arm, he also suffered soft tissue damage to his wrist. The worker, who does not want to be named, was only able to return to work nine months after the incident, due to his injuries.

An investigation by the HSE found there was no guard in place to protect employees from dangerous moving parts of the conveyor belt.

HSE inspector Ed Fryer said: “There is no excuse for companies to operate without protecting employees from dangerous parts of machinery. The requirement for guarding is common knowledge and the risks are obvious.

“The failure to protect workers has serious consequences, and in this particular incident caused painful injuries that could have been avoided by putting a simple guard in place.

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