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Recycling firm fined after worker's arm severed

A recycling company in Scotland has been fined after a worker lost an arm at a conveyor belt and following a warning about unguarded machinery.

Lowmac Alloys admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £118,000 after Stephen Dawson’s arm was severed when trying to clear a blockage.

The court in Kilmarnock heard that in 2011 Dawson opened an unsecured hinged guard at the plant in Irvine. His arm came into contact with the moving belt and pulley, resulting in his arm being cut off at the shoulder.

He has had two operations and has not been able to return to work.

An HSE investigation found that Lowmac Alloys failed to provide effective supervision to prevent workers from entering danger zones, a safe system to clear blockages or a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to employees when exposed to conveyor belt machinery.

Lowmac Alloys had previously been served with a deferred prohibition notice by the HSE in 2003 about inadequate guarding on another conveyor belt at the same premises, the court was told.

HSE inspector Mark Carroll said: “This incident was entirely preventable. Lowmac Alloys had identified there was a high risk of crushing and trapping in the machinery, however, the company failed to provide interlocking guarding to the gate over the conveyor which would have cut power to the machinery when it was opened.

“Had this been in place, then employees would not have been exposed to the risk from the dangerous parts of the machine.”

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