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Company fined after worker loses part of leg

A national malt company, Pauls Malt Limited, has been fined after a worker had to have the lower part of his left leg amputated, when he became entangled in machinery inside a grain silo. His right leg was also badly broken and is still held together by plates and pins.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that although the company had put in place procedures for working inside silos, they were not safe because there was no supervision on site to ensure that they were followed. The company used a 'Permit To Work' system which required an independent and competent person to verify that the auger was switched off before an employee entered the silo. However at the time of the incident the person nominated by the company, the site manager, had been absent for a number of months and his substitute had left the previous week.

After the hearing, HSE Principal Inspector Peter Dodd said:

"If Pauls Malt Ltd had ensured that there was a competent person on site to authorise and oversee the work being undertaken to empty the grain silo, then this incident would not have happened.

"The duty on the employers does not simply extend to giving instructions but ensuring that the instructions are carried out."

At Perth Sheriff Court Pauls Malt Limited were fined £8,000 after they pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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