An aerospace company has been fined for safety breaches after an apprentice worker suffered severe injuries to his arm when it became entangled in moving machinery.
Adam Harris, a 22 apprentice machinist, was working at the Magellan Aerospace plant in Bournemouth when his arm became caught in unguarded machinery on 11 March 2013.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which today (17 December) prosecuted Magellan at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard that Mr Harris, from Bournemouth, was machining a piece of nylon block on an unguarded manual milling machine when his right arm became caught around the spindle and cutter.
He sustained multiple breakages and injuries and spent five weeks in hospital undergoing numerous operations. His injuries may cause permanent impairment and disability.
HSE’s investigation found that, although fitted with swing and slide guards, there were no interlocks and it was possible to open the guards without stopping the dangerous parts of the machine.
HSE identified it had become routine practice at Magellan to remove guards when they wouldn’t close around a large vice, or when the workpiece was longer than the bed of the machine.
Despite Mr Morris’ horrific incident, the company failed to put controls in place to stop the guards being removed until HSE issued enforcement notices requiring them to take action. The court heard the company had a history of non-compliance in respect of milling machine guarding having received HSE enforcement notices in the past.
In addition, Magellan Aerospace failed to identify the risks when young, inexperienced apprentices worked on the machines with varying levels of supervision.
Magellan Aerospace, of Wallisdown Road, Bournemouth, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £10,157 in costs.
HSE Inspector Annette Walker, speaking after the hearing, said:
“Mr Harris has been traumatised at a very early stage of his working life and has suffered great pain in this incident. It could have been avoided had Magellan Aerospace fitted interlocks to stop the movement of dangerous parts and properly supervised the work, particularly in view of this young man’s level of experience.
“Vertical milling machines have the potential to be very versatile and there can be occasions where workpieces that could be completed on the machine might pose challenges to normal safeguarding arrangements. However, the solution is not to simply remove the machine’s guards and rely on the operator’s skill.”
Further information about guarding machinery can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/basic-safety-mistakes/guards.htm
Notes to Editors
- Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
- Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken to (a) prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or (b) to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”
- HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.