Unguarded conveyor and supervision of a young person


A 17 years old youth sustained severe bruising when he became entangled at an unguarded conveyor belt used for a screening process. He saw soil had become compressed on a roller causing the belt to deflect. Without turning off the power, he attempted to remove the build-up by hand. His hand and arm were dragged in under the roller and out the other side, pulling his chest against the side of the machine and trapping him. There was no accessible stop button and his shouts could not be heard. Fortunately, he was seen by another employee who immediately stopped the conveyor thus preventing further serious injury. The conveyor belt had to be cut to release the victim.


The youth's employer was prosecuted under Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for not properly guarding the conveyor and failing adequately to instruct and supervise the young person. They pleaded guilty and were fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £6,495 towards the cost of bringing the prosecution.


Unguarded or inadequately guarded machines are a source of numerous serious accidents to adults (and children) on farms. Exposed parts of machinery must be fully guarded to prevent any contact with the rotating parts.

Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) equipment for use should be adequately guarded BEFORE being used. A simple system for checking over equipment before use would have identified a missing guard.