Concrete manufacturer fined after worker is crushed to death

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A Leeds concrete manufacturer has been fined £285,000 after a worker was crushed to death and another seriously injured.

Mathew Fulleylove, 30, was operating a mobile saw unit on Line 12 at Treanor Pujol Ltd while another employee was operating a mobile bed cleaner on Line 11.

Mr Fulleylove was standing on the footwell of the unit as the other machine passed on the adjacent production line on June 5, 2014, Leeds Crown Court was told.

As the bed cleaner came past, his head was crushed between the frames of the two machines and he was killed instantly. The gap between the passing cleaner and saw machines on lines 11 and 12 was very small: between 65 and 93mm.

It was found that Treanor Pujol of Stourton had

  • Failed to identify the risk of crushing posed by the passing machines
  • Failed to devise a safe system of work to control this risk
  • Failed to provide adequate training in such a procedure to employees

In a second incident on April 12, 2018, a 47-year-old employee was operating a machine which embeds hooks into precast concrete when a fault developed.

While attempting to reset the machine, his elbow leant on a concrete dispenser box and a metal shutter designed to close off the flow of concrete. The shutter closed, trapping his left hand resulting in a fracture and partial de-gloving.

An HSE investigation found that the machine was not fitted with working interlocks, meaning several of its doors could be opened to gain access to dangerous moving parts while it was operating.

In the early stages of the investigation into the incident involving Fulleylove, HSE inspectors also noticed several electrical safety concerns with the equipment in the manufacturing shed.

They carried out numerous visits between 2014 and 2018 and discovered further failings, one of which related to electrical equipment not being suitably constructed or protected from the environment.

It was left in wet, dirty, dusty and corrosive conditions, which resulted in rapid deterioration and safety features becoming inoperable over time. This exposed employees to a risk of serious personal injury or death.

Treanor Pujol Ltd of former Bison Works site, Leeds, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £285,000 with costs of £56,324.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Kate Dixon said: “Treanor Pujol Ltd should have identified the risk of crushing between passing machines on the production lines.

“The company should have taken steps to reduce and control the residual risk, organising production to minimise the likelihood of machines passing each other on adjacent lines, as well as devising and implementing a safe system of work.

“This should have included a designated place of safety where operators were required to stand as a machine passed.

“The operator’s manual for the bed cleaning machine stated an exclusion zone around the machine at 655mm should be implemented. If this had been in place, it would have addressed the significant crushing hazard and prevented the death of Mr Fulleylove.”

She added: “In regard to the second incident, the company should have ensured that the dangerous parts of the Hooks Machine could not be accessed by anyone whilst they were moving by way of suitable guarding arrangements.

“Duty holders should ensure they carry out site specific risk assessments to identify any issues relevant to a particular location, task or piece of equipment.

“It is important to ensure where safe systems of work are required, employees are properly trained and monitored to ensure the correct way of working is followed.”