A Ferndown-based machined components and engineering company has been prosecuted for failing to guard dangerous parts of machinery after a worker was struck and injured by a metal clamp and workpiece.
The employee, who does not wish to be named, suffered bruising in the incident at TG Engineering Ltd, in Ferndown on 12 September 2012 as he was operating a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) lathe.
The company was prosecuted today (19 March) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that the machine’s interlock guard had been disabled.
Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court heard that the worker had inadvertently entered a speed of 3,520 rpm, which was much higher than intended. This caused a solid metal workpiece and clamp to eject through the open door of the lathe and hit him in the left side. He was unable to work for a couple of weeks as he recovered from the bruising he sustained, although he was fortunate to avoid more serious long-term injury.
HSE established that had the interlock been functional, the speed of the machine would have been limited to 50 rpm, making ejection of the workpiece and clamp unlikely.
HSE also discovered that interlocks had been disabled or removed on three other machines at the factory. Prohibition Notices were served for each machine as well as an Improvement Notice regarding the monitoring of guards.
The court was told that all the notices served have since been complied with.
TG Engineering Ltd, of Sterling Business Park, Ferndown Industrial Estate, Dorset, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £8,369 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the prosecution, HSE inspector Matthew Tyler said:
“CNC machines are powerful with the potential to cause serious harm, and the employee was extremely fortunate to escape relatively unharmed in this instance.
“Using the interlocking guards provided with the machine would have prevented access to dangerous parts and reduced the risk of ejection of materials and entanglement.
“The disabling of interlocks is a common failure in engineering companies and this prosecution should serve as a reminder to the risks involved.”
Further information about work equipment and machinery safety can be found on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery
Notes to Editors
1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
2. Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states that: “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.”
3. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.