Industrial blender death leads to fine for Mansfield company

George Major 51

George Major 51

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A Mansfield manufacturing company has been fined after an employee was killed by being pulled into an industrial blender.

Father-of-one, George Major, 51, from Mansfield, was clearing material from the blender at Rettenmaier UK Manufacturing Limited, a pellet manufacturer based in Forest Town, when it unxepectedly started up.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the 2011 incident found the guard had been removed from the machine and it had not been isolated and locked off from the electricity supply.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how the blender was part of a process line which produced pellets used to reinforce asphalt mixes in road surfaces.

The court also heard that the production line was installed on a number of floors at the Crown Farm Industrial Estate building, and was computer controlled - but only two floors had the control screens.

There was no computer control screen on the same floor as the blender - and there was no line of sight from the control screen in use, which was on another floor.

It was also pointed out in court that when the line was running, the factory was noisy.

HSE investigators found George had been helping to clear a blockage from machinery when he was dragged into the blender and killed.

The court heard there was no written system or instructions for isolation and no instruction to lock off isolators, no manuals for the plant, no proper training or staff and no risk assessments for work on the plant.

Rettenmaier UK Manufacturing Limited, of Strawberry Way, admitted breaching guilty to Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and was fined £200,000 with costs of £100,000.

HSE inspector, Samantha Farrar, said: “Mr Major’s death was entirely avoidable and his life was needlessly lost.

“The failings by Rettenmaier UK Manufacturing Ltd caused a fatality in particularly distressing circumstances.

“The absence of an effective health and safety management system, including a lack of a safe system of work for equipment isolation and lock-off, risk assessment and proper training for staff, meant that all workers at the site were at risk.

“This tragic incident could have so easily been avoided if a few simple steps had been taken by the company.”