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Quarry owner fined for unsafe equipment

Failure to comply with HSE prohibition notice results in £7,500 fine for Lincolnshire quarry owner

A LINCOLNSHIRE quarry owner has been fined £7,500 for endangering employees after being found guilty of operating unsafe machinery.

Andrew Freeman, who trades under the name Freemac Aggregates at The Quarry, Cross Road, The Fen, Baston, failed to comply with a legal notice prohibiting the use of a poorly maintained and inadequately guarded sand and gravel plant until it was made safe.

Spalding Magistrates Court heard that the Health and Safety Executive had visited Mr Freeman’s premises on 9 June 2009 and issued a prohibition notice for the plant. When an inspector revisited the site two months later on 16 September, the plant was still in use and guarding that had been fitted to comply with the notice had again been removed.

Mr Freeman was found guilty of breaching Regulation 11(1)(a) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) in relation to the offence. In addition to the £7,500 fine, he was ordered to pay full costs of £3,437.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Jo Anderson said: ‘By failing to maintain the guards or, worse still, provide any at all, Mr Freeman was putting himself and his employees at risk.

‘The fact that the guards had again been removed after we had issued the prohibition notice, and given him advice on what he needed to do to bring it up to standard, shows a blatant disregard for health and safety.

‘If someone had fallen into the machine they could easily have been killed or had a limb amputated or severely crushed. Preventing access to dangerous parts of moving machinery is a basic and vital safety precaution to ensure the welfare of a company’s workforce.’

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