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Precast firm fined £660,000 after worker killed

10 May 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

A precast concrete manufacturing firm has been fined £660,000 after a worker at its plant was trapped by machinery and fatally injured.

Bath Magistrates' Court heard how Jeffery Baulf, a 43-year-old maintenance worker employed by Somerset-based CPM Group, was carrying out maintenance work when the conveyor on the machine he was working on started moving and he got trapped.

An HSE investigation into the incident, which took place on 3 October 2016, found that the company had not implemented procedures to ensure the machinery was isolated before starting maintenance work.

Baulf's supervisor had authorised the work but the required control measures were not checked before the job started as procedure required, the court heard.

Enclosures to prevent access to dangerous moving parts of the machine were in place at the site.

Access was controlled by a key system that should have made sure machinery was isolated when people entered the enclosure.

However, the HSE told the court that when the site was inspected after the incident, a spare key was discovered which meant that access to the machinery in the incident area was possible without turning off and isolating the machine.

The HSE also found that there was insufficient supervision over the isolation of machines and that CPM's procedures for safe maintenance work were not consistently understood or applied.

Inspectors highlighted deficiencies in instruction and training and found that it was common for people to access dangerous areas while machines were still running.

CPM Group of Mells Road, Mells, Somerset, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £660,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,563.57.

HSE inspector Leo Diez said: “This tragic incident, which led to the avoidable death of a man, was easily prevented and the risk should have been identified.”

“Employers should make sure they apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.

“Maintenance work should only be carried out when the piece of plant / equipment is isolated and confirmed safe. There should not be any spare keys to captive key systems.”

Baulf’s wife, Jayne, said: “Losing Jeff in this way was truly shocking and heart breaking for all of us.

“We think of him every minute of every day. Our lives will never be the same again. Knowing that CPM could have prevented it makes it all the more difficult to bear.”

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