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Midland fabrication firm fined over worker injury

Date:
14 October 2015

A Midlands firm has been sentenced after a worker suffered serious injury when he became entangled in a length of galvanised pipe being turned in a machine.

Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard Craig Horton, 26, of Stone, was working for ASLR Fabrication Services Ltd in his home town on 12 September 2014.

Mr Horton was carrying out a process using a pipe threading machine for cutting ‘male’ threads onto the end of steel pipework. He had used the piece of machinery for the first time the previous day.

Mr Horton was wearing a ‘hoody’ type top at the time. He placed the pipe end into the jaws of the threading machine and depressed the foot pedal to commence the machine cycle. The pipe began to spin within the jaws and as it rotated his clothing was snagged, dragging him and wrapping him around the pipe, rendering him unable to breathe properly. Two colleagues ran to his aid and had to cut his top off to free him from the pipe allowing him to breathe again.

After he was freed the injured man was found to have his arm broken in two places, and underwent an operation to fit two metal plates and 12 pins into his arm, which has left him with life changing injuries.

The court was told by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting the incident was entirely preventable. A suitable and sufficient risk assessment should have been carried out and effective clamps fitted to hold the pipe or guarding/safety devices in place to prevent access to the dangerous rotating pipe.

ASLR Fabrication Services Ltd, Opal Way, Stone Business Park, Stone, Staffs admitted breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Regulation 11(1) and was fined £6,000.

It also admitted breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Regulation 3(1) (a) and was again fined £6,000. HSE were awarded full costs of £1,377.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kath Blunt said: “This accident was entirely preventable. This could very easily have been a fatality.

“It is imperative that risk assessments are carried out in order to identify significant risks and suitable control measures to be put in place to eliminate or reduce such risks.”

Notes to Editors: 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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. www.hse.gov.uk 
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/  
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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