Engineering Company Punished After Colleague Breaks Arm in Machine

| General

In May 2023 an engineering business was financially sanctioned over two-hundred-thousand pounds in the Newcastle Magistrates Court. The case was taken so seriously by both regulatory authorities because a member of the workforce appears to have been dragged into a piece of industrial equipment causing arm fractures.    

What Happened In The Case?

The member of the workforce had only been recruited shortly before the accident and was being shown the ropes by more established colleagues employed in the same workplace. On 12th November 2021 the colleague was working as part of a small team of two colleagues positioned on a lathe measuring approximately two-hundred feet. This kind of machinery is often used to store commercial hosepipes and was utilised to put related goods on a steel mandrel. 
The affected colleague was standing behind the piece of industrial equipment designed for lathe purposes helping out and his more experienced colleague was responsible for controlling the piece of machinery and fitting the machinery with a rubber attachment. All appears to have been progressing without anything by way of incident. This was until matters took a dark turn for the worse due to the fact that matter made of rubber which had just been installed onto the piece of industrial machinery came off a mandrel comprised of steel. The natural reaction of the member of the workforce was to hold onto the rubber part of the industrial machinery. Whilst he did so the piece of industrial equipment started moving and dragged the colleague at the centre of the workforce into the workings of the commercial machinery. It did not end well for the more junior member of the workforce and he sustained a significant fracture to his arm in two locations.    

What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?

Industry regulator the HSE launched an investigation seeking to establish whether the specialist engineering business had adhered to industry standards when operating the piece of commercial machinery. When it did so it perused the instruction book as to how the equipment worked and the recommended best practices in connection with it. It suggested for the lathe machinery to be closed off and only persons using the piece of machinery permitted to gain access to it by the fitting of a blockade. In this regard, the authorities found that the engineering specialist business had neglected its regulatory responsibilities to put in arrangements to mitigate the risk of persons in the vicinity of the commercial machinery reaching the inner workings of it which were likely to cause bodily damage. The HSE also highlighted that the procedures implemented by the business needed members of the workforce to be positioned in a part of the working environment which was recommended to be inaccessible due to barricading features stopping access to it.   

Feet to the Fire?

The case progressed to Newcastle Crown Court where the business admitted violating section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 placing duties upon organisations to safeguard the health and safety of colleagues under their sphere of control.   

Lessons Learned?

Businesses need to limit the likelihood of similar incidents by: 
-    protecting the safety of colleagues in the workplace
-    implement devices such as blockades to stop colleagues accessing the internal workings of equipment
-    ensuring they have perused the operating handbook so they are trained on how it works and
-    implementing standard operating procedures on the safe use of such machinery. 
If you have experienced something similar, or have an opposing viewpoint, please kindly leave a comment on the article or contact us.   
#BlakeMorgan #LClyde&CoLLP #CapsticksLLP #Hempsons #KingsleyNapleyLLP #RadcliffesLeBrasseur #BatesWells #CMS #DACBeachcroftLLP #FieldFisher #HerbertSmithFreehills #Russell-CookeLLP #BlackfordsLLP #CharlesRussellSpeechlysLLP #KeoughLLP #MurdochsSolicitors #StepehensonsSolicItorsLLP



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