A chocolate manufacturer Celtic Chocolates Limited pleaded guilty to not providing a safe system of work following an accident when an employee’s thumb was amputated.
In her evidence to the court, Ms. Mariad Wall a H.S.A. Inspector told the court a week before the accident occurred a compressor in the factory was squeaking and making noise as a v-belt on the equipment was slipping.
Subsequently during a slow down in production it was decided to change out the v-belt from the machine. During this process the machine was switched off but was not isolated from the power supply. When replacing the v-belt an employee inadvertently brushed against the start up switch causing it to start up, and entangling the injured workers right hand in the moving parts of the compressor.
In imposing a fine of €30,000.00 Justice Michael O’Shea accepted the Companies plea of not providing a safe system of work contrary to section 8(2)(e) of the SHWW 2005.
(Ref. Circuit Court, Trim DPP for HSA -v- Celtic Chocolates Limited June 2016)
This case illustrates the requirement to follow a safe system of work when carrying out essential maintenance activities.