Tyre firm Pirelli has been fined after a 17-year-old apprentice suffered serious injuries to his hands in a lathe accident.
James Powell was making a trolley for a toolbox at the company’s site in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, where he was working as a mechanical maintenance apprentice.
The teenager, who was wearing gloves, was making a spindle for the wheels of the trolley using emery cloth to perfect the finish, Stafford Magistrates’ Court was told.
The spindle was fitted to a metalwork lathe but the cloth snagged, pulling James into it. He broke several fingers and his wrist, and one finger was partially severed.
Since the workplace accident in August 2014 he has had three operations on his hands, including metal pins fitted. His partially severed finger might still need to be amputated, the court heard.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there were inadequate control measures in place to prevent an accident.
It was common practice for employees to use emery cloth to polish using lathes, but no risk assessment had been carried out for this activity. The report also found the training of apprentices at Pirelli was insufficient.
Pirelli Tyres Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and section 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
It was fined a total of £28,000, and ordered to pay costs of £1,418.60 and a victim surcharge of £120.
HSE inspector Wayne Owen says if emery cloth is used on a lathe incorrectly it is foreseeable that serious injury could occur.
Mr Owen adds that the incident could have been prevented if the information had been followed by the company and a suitable risk assessment carried out.
Pirelli has since taken action to deal with the deficiencies identified by HSE during its investigation.
Source: Health and Safety Executive