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Engineering firm fined over safety breach

13 December 2016

An engineering firm was sentenced today for safety breaches after a worker suffered life affecting injuries.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how 39 year old father of two James Smith suffered a shattered knee cap in October 2015 when his leg was struck by a rotating chuck of a CNC lathe machine at Sigma Technologies Ltd Bradford plant.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the foot pedal that operated the jaws of the chuck was faulty and the machines safety mechanism had been overridden. The company had allowed the machines to be operated with the guards open for setting and polishing for some time.

Sigma technologies Ltd of Dockfield Road Shipley pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £31,500 with £2,222.10 costs by Leeds Magistrates Court.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrea Jones commented: “The risks associated with CNC machines include entanglement with rotating parts or ejection of components resulting in serious injuries. The safe guarding principles of CNC machines are well established.

“It is essential that CNC machines are only operated for setting purposes with the guards open on a limited speed and limited functionality programme. Overriding the safety mechanisms should never be allowed by management or supervisors.”

For further information please see the HSE guides:

HSG129 “Health and Safety in Engineering workshops” and HSE engineering information sheet no 2 “The use of emery cloths on metal working lathes”

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.
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. HSE news releases are available at

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