A Manchester firm has been fined £140,000 after an employee suffered horrific burns from molten metal.
Colin Hardman, 64, was carrying out work for Presbar Diecastings Ltd when he became trapped in a machine.
As a result of the excruciating burns, Mr Hardman suffered a heart attack and a stroke and was fortunate to survive the workplace incident.
Presbar – an aluminium diecasting producer – pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court for failing to properly protect the worker from harm.
Injured during routine procedure
A Health and Safety (HSE) investigation found that Mr Hardman had entered the middle of an aluminium diecasting machine when a robotic arm full holding a ladle full of molten metal began to move while he was carrying out this routine procedure.
The ladle, which contained 400-degrees-centigrade molten metal, trapped Mr Hardman inside the machine.
The Manchester Evening News reported he was in a coma for some considerable time and in hospital for almost three weeks. The newspaper also says Mr Hardman is now living in sheltered accommodation after suffering brain damage in the accident.
Firm fined £140,000
The court heard that the machine was only partially guarded, making the ladle accessible to workers.
Although a risk assessment was in place at the time of the incident – identifying the ladle as a serious hazard – there was not enough safeguarding against the potential for a serious incident, the HSE found.
Presbar Diecasting Ltd of Store Street in Manchester pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
A judge fined the company £140,000 and ordered it to pay £9,788.56 costs and £120 victim surcharge.
Speaking after the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Mike Sebastian said: “A man suffered life-changing injuries which could have been prevented if the machine had been properly guarded.
“Employers should ensure that they regularly check, assess and review the guarding on their machinery to ensure that all access to dangerous parts in prevented.”
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: September 1, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown