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The importance of providing adequate supervision, instruction and training

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 all employers have a duty to provide all employees with suitable and sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision in order for them to carry out their job safely.

Recent UK Prosecution Case Example

A spring manufacturing company has been fined after an employee had two fingers of his right hand severed whilst attempting to lubricate a bandsaw. A labourer employed by Hanson Springs Ltd in Rochdale was assisting by cutting sections of steel spring, using a vertical bandsaw when the blade began to smoke and squeal. The worker decided to replace the blade, as it appeared heavily worn. He attempted to lubricate the new blade, by pressing a cardboard tube of wax onto the exposed section of it whilst it ran. The tube was drawn in, in turn drawing in the worker’s hand, severing the middle two fingers at the first and second knuckle respectively. An investigation revealed that the worker had received training from the supervisor in using the machine, but the training was of poor quality.

Despite manual lubrication of the blades being common practice within the company, it was actually unnecessary as the machine was self-lubricating. The worker had been shown how to short-cut the lubrication process during training.

Operational management was not aware of this dangerous practice and therefore no safe method of lubricating the blades had been provided to employees. Hanson Springs Ltd of Rochdale, Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,394.

Accident Prevention This incident could have been easily avoided if the employer had carried out an assessment of the risks and put in safe system of works for the operation of all machinery. The employer should have also ensured that adequate supervision, instruction and training was provided to the worker.

Written by: John Carver

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