Firm is fined over safety

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A SOUTH Yorkshire firm has been fined £20,000 and charged £7,356 in costs after a worker was struck by a steel girder.

The employee narrowly escaped being crushed by the girder at Sherling Steel UK’s factory on Engine Lane, Shafton, Barnsley.

Instead, he was knocked to the floor when it hit him from behind.

The 46-year-old man, from Mapplewell, near Barnsley, suffered severe bruising and soft tissue damage to his foot and lower leg in the incident in September 2011.

During a Health and Safety Executive prosection at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court, magistrates heard the worker had taken two girders into a workshop, placed them on powered rollers at the start of a shotblasting and painting line, and left them for the weekend.

At the start of his Monday shift, the man set the rollers running and climbed through a curtain screen to put clean clingfilms on them, but forgot the girders were on the same rollers.

He was struck in the lower back as the girder moved towards him.

The HSE said Sherling Steel UK had never assessed the risks involved in using the machine and had not provided guards for the rollers to prevent access during operation.

The firm pleaded guilty to healthy and safety breaches.

HSE Inspector Denise Fotheringham said: “This was the result of Sherling’s long-term neglect of responsibilities toward the safety of their workforce.

“It could easily have resulted in a more serious, even fatal, injury.”