The UK division of building products manufacturer Cemex has been convicted of safety failings after a worker was killed at its concrete block and paving factory in West Lothian. James Brownlie suffered fatal injuries on 13 May 2017 while carrying out maintenance and repair work on a dry sided conveyor at the site in West Calder, part of which ran under a machine known as a centering machine…



Employers are required to assess the risks posed from the maintenance of machinery, this includes both maintenance by employees and contractors. From my experience this is often overlooked and machinery is often left powered up when maintenance is being undertaken.

You should ensure you assess these risks and implement control measures to prevent machinery being maintained when it is not safe to do so. Simple things to consider are training staff in maintenance procedures, providing tag on lock off boards to allow staff to safely lock off machinery and implementing a permit to work system for the maintenance of machinery which is followed by both staff and contractors.

Safety Cloud can be used to record training, permits to work and maintenance work ensuring documentation is readily available.


A company that manufactures wire mesh for use as security fencing or in construction has been fined £16,000 after an employee became trapped in a welding machine that he was attempting to repair…READ MORE


Machinery breakdown is reasonably foreseeable, for this reason employers should ensure risk assessments consider what steps should be implemented in addressing breakdowns. In the first instance you should consider who should be informed, locking off the power to machines and providing signage if they are unsafe to use and then ensuring a trained member of staff or competent contractor is notified.

Before any repairs are undertaken you should ensure the machinery is safe to access by implementing a safe system of work/authorising a permit to work. Communication is really important so always ensure all persons involved are aware of what work is being undertaken and what the agreed safe method of work is.

Safety Cloud can be used to communicate risk assessments to staff and then test staff knowledge with the use of a handbook quiz. You can then be assured you have evidence staff are aware of the critical controls contained within your risk assessments.


A Co. Antrim man has been ordered to pay £20,000 after an employee had an arm amputated by a screw auger conveyor at an animal feed manufacturing site.On the day of the incident, the injured worker was working in McGuckian Milling Company’s blending plant when he noticed a blockage had occurred at a holding bin…



Staff training is essential and the law makes it clear employers have a duty to ensure staff are trained/competent and are supervised. Safety Cloud allows you to record staff training so you can evidence whether staff have been trained on machinery and then review training within a training matrix. You can even run a report on who is not trained to use a specific machine so you can clearly identify any training gaps.
In this case the lack of guarding should have been identified within a risk assessment. I would always recommend involving staff in your risk assessment process as this might identify hazards only the operators of machinery could foresee and training gaps. Where guarding is noted to be missing you should always remove the machine from use and isolate the power supply until you have undertaken a risk assessment and in this case either provided guarding or a safe system of work.