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Life-changing injuries of two employees lead to court for Newport company

Date:
13 January 2015

A Newport roller manufacturer has been fined after two employees suffered life-changing injuries whilst operating rotating machinery.

Stephen Harris, 53, from Pontnewydd, was drawn into a powered lathe that he was using to unwrap cloth from a processing roller at Moonsys Technology Ltd, trading as Recovery Rollers, on 22 May 2013.

Mr Harris sustained severe internal and external injuries. He broke his knees, left wrist, right thigh and suffered trauma to his head. He has not been able to return to work and is expected to undertake months of physiotherapy to improve his mobility. It is still unclear whether Mr Harris will make a full recovery.

In a separate incident, on 18 April 2013, Ross Powell-Morris, 32, from Oxwich, required amputation of his left arm after being drawn into a CNC lathe while polishing a metal roller journal using emery cloth. He also suffered scarring to his face and is still in constant pain. Mr Powell-Morris has also been unable to return to work.

Newport Crown Court heard today (13 Jan) that an investigation into Mr Harris’s incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that Moonsys Technology failed to provide a sufficient risk assessment for the removal of cloth using a powered lathe.

The company also failed to provide a safe system of work for the task, such as limiting the speed at which the lathe could rotate during unwrapping and ensuring that the removed cloth was placed into a suitable receptacle during unwrapping to prevent the risk of entanglement.

In Mr Powell-Morris’s case, HSE found the lathe was not effectively maintained and the safety interlocks to prevent access to the dangerous parts were not working. The emergency safety bar designed to stop the machine when necessary had been propped up on a plastic box to catch an oil leak and also was not operational.

A risk assessment had not been completed for the task and there was no documented safe system of work for polishing parts safely using emery cloth on a powered lathe. The company should have prevented the use of gloves, which Mr Powell-Morris was wearing, when operating a CNC lathe, provided a suitable manual lathe and supplied appropriate tools so that polishing could be completed safely.

Moonsys Technology Ltd of Western Industrial Estate, Ponthir Road, Caerleon, Newport, was fined a total of £70,000 and ordered to pay £20,710 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Gethyn Jones said:

“Entanglement in rotating parts of machinery is a well-known risk but Moonsys Technology clearly failed to ensure the safety of its employees, with terrible life-changing consequences for both Mr Harris and Mr Powell-Morris and their families.

“Both incidents could have been prevented had there been a safe system of work in place for the tasks and full risk assessments carried out. Furthermore, companies that use rotating machinery should have a very clear policy on the use of gloves, which should never be used in conjunction with such machinery.”

Further information on working with machinery can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace  health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It  does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or  revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. 
  2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
  3. HSE news releases are available at: press.hse.gov.uk

 

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