An experienced electrician at a tyre factory in Cumbria suffered a ‘major injury’ when a machine crushed his arm and broke it in three places.
The employee was a maintenance electrician with over 40 years’ experience when the accident happened at the tyre factory in January 2012.
Following the Christmas break, the machine used to measure the size of tyres had broken down and the electrician was attempting to repair it. He removed a fixed guard which had been put in place to prevent contact with the machine’s moving parts. He restarted the machine without putting back the guard; he then checked the level of the oil reservoir and as he did so, the machine began to move and crushed his arm.
The HSE investigated the accident and brought about a prosecution against the company. Carlisle Magistrates heard how the company had done a good job of making sure health and safety measures were in place but that it had not done enough.
The court also learned how the employee understood a lot about health and safety procedures but did not know enough specifically about procedures surrounding the removal of safety guards.
The tyre company admitted breaching health and safety laws and apologised to the court and to the employee.
The HSE inspector said that there was a safety procedure in place but it was not being followed or supervised sufficiently.
Representatives on behalf of the tyre company said that the case was not one where the employer did nothing and that accident was caused by human error but it was not trying to blame the victim for the accident.
The court was told that the tyre company had improved its health and safety procedures since the accident and that it ‘deeply regretted the incident’.
A statement issued by the company said: “The company has always has been committed to ensuring high levels of health and safety for all its employees. As such, it was encouraging that the court recognised the significant investment the company had made and continues to make in health and safety provision, including the improvements made across the Carlisle factory, which exceed the statutory requirements.”
The company was fined £20,000 and costs of £4,331 were ordered.
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Published on 16th February 2015.