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HSE urges firms to focus on upkeep of heavy machines

Companies that use heavy machinery have been warned to ensure their equipment is well maintained and kept in a good state of repair or risk facing legal action.

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Words by: Auto Trader

Published on 7 November 2014 | 0 min read

The warning comes from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and follows the successful prosecution of a waste firm based in south-east London which was found to have often left heavy machinery in a dangerous condition, resulting in its employees being put at risk.
According to a statement released by the HSE, Greenwich-based Murphys (Waste) Ltd was handed 10 enforcement notices over a five-year period up to early 2014. An annual inspection by an engineer in October 2013 found that one of the company's loading shovels was in a poor state of repair. Bolts attaching the front bucket to the machine had suffered extensive damage, which could have resulted in the bucket becoming detached. Officials demanded the machine be repaired before going back into service, but on a subsequent visit, inspectors found the machine was still being used without having been repaired. Health and Safety Executive inspectors also found an excavator being used on the site that did not have a left-side mirror or a rear mirror in place, affecting the driver's ability to operate the machine safely. Murphys (Waste) Ltd of Horn Lane, Greenwich, south-east London admitted two offences under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £1,287 in costs. Health and Safety Executive inspector John Crookes said the waste industry was one of the most dangerous sectors and that the risks faced by workers were widely recognised and well documented. He said: "No company in the industry should be failing to address these risks and no worker should be regularly exposed to such uncontrolled dangers. All work vehicles and equipment must be kept in an efficient condition and in good state of repair." Employees working in the waste and recycling industry were among professionals most likely to be injured in the workplace, according to statistics collected by the HSE in 2013/14. In total there were 486 major/specified injuries recorded during the period.

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