A young apprentice had to spend five weeks in hospital after getting his arm caught in unguarded machinery while working for an aerospace firm, a court heard.
Bournemouth-based Magellan Aerospace was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,157 after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court heard the accident at work, which happened in March 2013, left apprentice machinist Adam Harris, with multiple fractures to his right arm. Mr Harris, 22, got his arm entangled in an unguarded manual milling machine at the firm’s plant.
Victim may be permanently disabled
Magistrates were told he had to undergo numerous operations and may be left permanently disabled.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the accident found that although the machine had slide and swing guards, it was possible to open them without stopping the dangerous moving parts which injured Mr Harris.
The court heard that in certain situations it had become routine practice at the plant to remove the guards and magistrates were told that despite the accident, the firm had not taken action to stop the guards being taken off until the HSE issued it with enforcement notices.
The investigation also found that the firm hadn’t identified the risks posed by having inexperienced young apprentices working on machines with differing levels of supervision.
‘Accident was avoidable’
Following the court case, HSE inspector Annette Walker said the accident had left Mr Harris traumatised at what was a very early stage of his career.
She said the accident could have been avoided had Magellan Aerospace supervised the work properly and fitted interlocks that would have stopped the machine’s dangerous parts moving.
The inspector added that the solution to challenging situations should not have been to remove the guarding and rely on its operator’s skill.
If you’ve been injured in a similar accident, contact Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone to see if you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: December 19, 2014
Author: David Brown