A steel engineering firm was ordered to pay more than £20,000 after one of its employees suffered a serious work injury.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated CRF (UK) Ltd after the man got the sleeve of his overalls trapped in an unguarded drill bit, resulting in severe neck and arm injuries.
Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday that the company did not take effective measures to avoid access to dangerous moving parts of the drill bit at its premises on Soulton Road, Wem, Shropshire, on December 6, 2011. It was prosecuted by HSE for serious safety failings.
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Seven-week hospital stay
The 39-year-old worker was operating a twin pillar drill when his sleeve became caught in the unguarded running drill spindle.
The man was dragged into the rotating spindle and pinned to the machine bed. He could not reach the stop button so called out for help. A colleague came to his rescue.
The employee broke his neck in three places and his right forearm suffered serious cuts and burns. The work injury resulted in him staying in hospital for seven weeks, which was followed by a 10-week period of physiotherapy.
He was in a neck brace for six months and the left side of his body has not yet recovered.
Work injury was avoidable
CRF (UK) Ltd was found to not have any guards in place to prevent access to the rotating spindles and there were no official systems of work, supervision or training. Operators were left to rely on their own experience and judgement when using the equipment.
CRF (UK) Ltd was fined £13,000 with £7,871 costs after accepting it had breached Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
HSE inspector Marie-Louise Riley-Roberts said: “This accident could have been prevented by the simple measure of providing guarding to prevent access to the rotating parts.
“Employers who neglect their duty to protect workers will continue to be held to account where they fail to do so.”
Source: Health and Safety Executive