Worker crushed by 1.5 tonne weight

Once again, a lack of understanding of the risks and the absence of adequate safety procedures have resulted in serious injury that could easily have caused loss of life.

A maintenance engineer was left minus the tops of three vertebrae, plus a broken shoulder and two cracked ribs when a one and a-half tonne counterweight descended on him and pinned him to the junction box of the zinc galvanising machine he was working on.

An investigation into the incident led by the HSE found that once an engineer was inside the machine, he was no longer visible to machine operators, exposing him to great risk. An absence of systems that could isolate machines as they were undergoing maintenance or inspections increased this risk significantly.

In this case, the worker was lucky enough to have been able to shout out before losing consciousness, thus alerting the machine operator.

Health and safety training is essential in all workplaces, particularly those that expose their workers to risk. The training helps employees not only to identify potential risks but also how to put measures into place that will safeguard workers’ lives.