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Quarry Company Fined After Worker Injured Due to Unguarded Drilling Rig

Date:
4 December 2015

A quarry company has been fined after an employee lost two fingers after coming into contact with a drill fitted to a hydraulic excavator at a dimension stone quarry.

The employee was directing the drilling operation while a colleague operated the controls in the excavator, when the employee’s glove became entangled around the rotating drill causing the amputation.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive into the incident, which occurred on 16 January 2014 at Lingberry Quarry near Staindrop, found that the preventative measures taken by the company to control the risks were not adequate (or not suitable).

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard that that a guard had not been fitted to the drill which could have prevented the accident. The only control in place was a single trip wire fitted to one side of the drill mast. As the employee was being twisted against the opposite side of the mast to the trip wire, he was unable to activate the trip wire. It was a number of seconds before the excavator operator became aware of the situation and stopped the drill.

Robert Thomas Charlton(trading as Border Stone Quarries) of Kirkholmdale, Lanty’s Lonnen, Haltwhistle, pleaded guilty to a charge under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998 for failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of equipment. He was fined £7,200 and ordered to pay costs of £27,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Specialist Quarries Inspector, Mike Tetley said “This is an accident that could have been easily prevented. The expected guarding standard for this type of machine working in this environment would be an interlocked guard as access to the drill was frequently required. There are established legal requirements relating to machinery guarding and these are complimented by HSE and industry specific guidance. Entanglement in the rotating parts of drilling rigs has caused fatalities and serious injuries including amputations as in this case. These are known risks and need to be appropriately controlled by companies operating this type of equipment.”

 For more information on the prevention of entanglement in the rotary parts of drilling and piling rigs visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/foi/internalops/og/og-00055.htm

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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