British Manufacturer Fined in Machine Guarding Case

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident found that the company had not implemented procedures to ensure machinery was isolated before starting maintenance work.

An English pre-cast concrete products manufacturing company has been fined almost $900,000 in a machine guarding fatality case. Jeffrey Baulf, 43, a maintenance fitter employed by CPM Group Limited, was doing maintenance work Oct. 3, 2016, on a machine not locked out or isolated; when a conveyor started moving, Baulf suffered fatal injuries when he was trapped.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the company had not implemented procedures to ensure machinery was isolated before starting maintenance work. The court heard that the maintenance task was authorized by Baulf's supervisor, but the required control measures were not checked before work started as the procedure required.

Access to dangerous moving parts of the machines at the site was generally controlled by enclosures that prevented access to the danger zones. Access into the enclosures was generally controlled by a special key system, which should have made sure machinery was isolated and safe to work around when people entered the enclosure. HSE told the Court that when the site was inspected after the incident, a spare key was discovered, which meant access to machinery in the incident area was possible without turning off and isolating the machine.

CPM Group Limited of Mells Road, Mells, Somerset, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £660,000 -- equivalent to more than $895,000 in U.S. dollars -- and ordered to pay costs of £14,563.57. Speaking after the hearing, 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 minimize 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."

"Losing Jeff in this way was truly shocking and heartbreaking 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," said Jayne Baulf, the victim's widow.

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