HSE prosecutes playground safety surface firm

A Kent firm that makes safety surfaces for playgrounds has been fined after it failed to heed warnings from safety experts to properly guard dangerous machinery.

Sittingbourne-based Island Leisure Products was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an inspector carried out a routine visit to the company on 11 December 2013.

Sevenoaks Magistrates heard on 16 December that Island Leisure had been issued with a prohibition notice in June 2010 when another inspector had found a milling machine being used without any guards to protect workers from dangerous moving parts. The notice prevented any further use of the machine until effective guarding was installed, and was originally complied with.

However, during the December 2013 visit, HSE found the same machine in use, but again with no safety guarding.

HSE prosecuted the company for failing to ensure that effective guarding was in place to prevent operators from getting too close to the rotating parts of the machine.

Island Leisure Products of Castle Road, Sittingbourne Kent, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £2,500 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

After the case, HSE inspector Joanne Williams said: "Fortunately, no one at the factory was injured but this was down to chance rather than any good management. Island Leisure once again neglected safety and seemed to have disregarded any lesson learned from HSE’s enforcement action on the exact same machine back in 2010.

"To return to the same premises and find the identical dangers still very much apparent is totally unacceptable. There was very real risk of entanglement of workers’ hands in the moving parts leading to lacerations at best, amputation of hands at worst."

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