• Robert Spicer

BAE Fined For Health And Safety Offence

Gun injuries: BAE company fined

Health and Safety Executive v BAE Systems Global Combat Systems Munitions Limited (2014) September 19, Newcastle Crown Court.

BAE Systems Global Combat Systems Limited, the munitions subsidiary of BAE Systems, has been fined after a worker suffered serious leg injuries when test firing a gun.

Significant points of the case

  • An employee of BAE was test firing a gun on a test range in Northumberland. A boresight, which was an aiming device, had been left in the barrel of the gun when it should have been removed before firing.

  • When the employee fired the gun, the barrel became jammed. The breech bolt, which weighed 7kg, ejected from the gun and struck his left leg with great force. His leg bone was shattered and he spent six weeks in hospital.

  • The company recognised the hazards of not removing a boresight before firing and had interlocked other guns to avoid this type of incident. The weapon which caused the injuries had not been interlocked.

The company was fined £80,000 plus £100,000 costs for a breach of section 2, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of employees.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that this was a highly specialised global company whose safety standards should be industry-leading. There were recognised preventative measures which should have been employed to make sure that this kind of serious incident could not happen.



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