A Nuneaton company has been fined after an employee broke his neck when he was drawn into an unguarded machine.
Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court heard (17 Feb) that the 60-year-old machinist from Bedworth was machining a piece of nylon when his overalls got tangled in a spindle moulder at Nuneaton Precisions Ltd on 18 September 2013.
As well as breaking two bones in his neck, the incident left him with a fractured right shoulder and a split ear which required stitches and plastic surgery. He was in hospital for eight days and off work for ten months. He has since returned to work for the company.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the interlocks on the machine had been altered and left totally ineffective. The spindle moulder, which spins to cut material, should have been behind closed doors but the first lock on the door had been removed and put in the lock on the other side, fooling the machine into thinking the circuit was complete and it was safe to operate.
Nuneaton Precisions Ltd, of Veasey Close, Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate, Nuneaton, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,252 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
After the hearing HSE inspector Elizabeth Hornsby said:
“This was an horrific incident that left a man with multiple serious injuries. It was also an incident that could and should have been prevented.
“It is a basic premise of health and safety that workers should not be able to come into contact with dangerous moving parts of machinery. By failing to ensure that the interlocks were maintained, workers were put at risk, and one could have very nearly paid with his life.”
Information and guidance on the safe use of work equipment and machinery is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/
Notes to Editors
- 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. www.hse.gov.uk
- Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations1998 states: Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken in accordance with paragraph (2) which are effective to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.
- HSE news releases are available at press.hse.gov.uk