A wheat and barley blending plant has been fined after a worker was seriously injured whilst unblocking wheat in a silo.
Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court heard the employee was working for Clynderwen and Cardiganshire Farmers Limited (CCF) and had entered a wheat silo to clear a blockage.
As he did so the rotating auger started to sweep and pulled him down towards the centre of the silo. He initially escaped but was caught by his clothing and pulled down again, with most of his clothes being pulled off. He managed to escape and switch off the auger before he was found.
He suffered severe lacerations to his left foot and lower leg leading to surgical amputation a week later. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on 9 July 2014, found there was inadequate instruction and training into the electrical and mechanical isolation of the auger.
Clynderwen and Cardiganshire Farmers Limited, of Clynderwen, Pembrokeshire, was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,396 after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. After the hearing HSE inspector Simon Breen said: “The sweep auger that caused the damage to the employee was not adequately isolated, in practice, and the employees did not have sufficient information, instruction and training to safely carry out the annual cleanout of the grain silos.
“Duty holders should consider the risks posed by infrequent but necessary work activities as much as those of day to day procedures and practices.”
Phoenix Comment “Many accidents and fatalities are caused by entering confined spaces such as silos. This is a highly hazardous work activity and should be stringently controlled, usually by way of a permit to work system. This ensures that necessary precautions are followed and signed off at each stage”.