Jaguar Land Rover Ltd has been fined for safety breaches after an employee suffered life-threatening crush injuries when he was dragged into inadequately guarded machinery.
The 57-year-old maintenance electrician from Northfield, Birmingham, who has asked not to be named, punctured both lungs and broke ten ribs, his breastbone, two bones in his spine and two in his right hand. He had blood clots on his heart and kidneys and was in an induced coma in intensive care for 12 days. He was in hospital for a further seven days but was back at work within 17 weeks.
The incident happened in the paint shop at the company’s Lode Lane site in Solihull on 14 June 2013
Birmingham Crown Court was told a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that following the latest in a series of frequent production line stoppages the employee approached a gap in the perimeter guarding that surrounded the vehicle body lifting equipment so he could witness the troublesome process in operation.
As he watched he was hit by an empty vehicle body carrier on a circulatory chain conveyor that was travelling through the gap. He was knocked to the ground and forcibly dragged through the gap into a restricted processing area where he was severely crushed.
The gap remained unguarded following the incident until HSE enforcement required that further protective measures be provided. The area of conveyor was enclosed with fixed perimeter guards by Jaguar Land Rover and a robust key exchange access system introduced.
Jaguar Land Rover Ltd, of Abbey Road, Whitley, Coventry, was today (Dec 23) fined £40,000 with £13,474 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
Passing sentence, His Honour Judge Carr said Jaguar Land Rover “fell far short of a safe and reasonable standard”, adding:
“This was an entirely reasonable, foreseeable situation. The breach was an ongoing failure and an accident waiting to happen.”
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector John Glynn said:
“The incident was entirely preventable. Although the gap was minimally sized to allow empty carriers into the restricted area, it also allowed access to dangerous moving parts within the production process while in itself creating a crush hazard with the moving conveyor.
“Jaguar Land Rover has extensive safety systems in place and the Lode Lane plant had other facilities with similar processes that are guarded much more effectively. The company should have ensured the same level of protection at this location. It didn’t and as a result a man suffered horrific injuries. It is remarkable that he recovered enough to return to work within 17 weeks. The incident could very easily have ended his life.”
Notes to Editors:
- Regulation 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken which are effective to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or 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.