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  • Writer's pictureRobert Spicer

Recent Health and Safety Prosecutions June 2012

Severed hand: £100,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Lisec (UK and Ireland) Ltd (2012) Teesside Crown Court, May 29

Lisec (UK and Ireland) Ltd, a glass manufacturing compnay, has been fined following an incident in which a worker suffered a severed hand.

Significant points of the case

  • In September 2007 a maintenance technician, who wishes to remain anonymous, was working at Solaglass (Architectural) Ltd’s site in Bishop Auckland.

  • He was investigating a fault on a new tilt table. The table was part of a glass cutting line manufactured and installed by Lisec in May 2007.

  • The worker was on his hands and knees, trying to find out the casue of the fault. He had activated the emergency stop.

  • A large laminated glass sheet measuring six metres by three metres, weighing almost one tonne, was suspended above his right wrist. The worker had his right arm extended with a mirror in his hand so that he could check the status of a sensor which related to the release of the glass onto the table.

  • A colleague moved past another sensor on the tilt table. The sheet of glass was released. It fell onto the worker’s wrist and severed his hand.

  • There were faults within the programme which controlled the movement of the glass. It allowed the glass sheet to be released, even when an emergency stop had been activated. This fault was exacerbated by the installation of the new tilt table and the failure to integrate it properly with the existing equipment.

Lisec was fined £100,000 plus £150,000 costs under section 6, HSW Act. This states, in summary, that it shall be the duty of any person who erects or installs any article for use at work in any premises where that article is to be used by person at work to esnure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that nothing about the way in which the article is erected or installed makes it unsafe or a risk to health at all times when it is being set, used, cleaned or maintained by a person at work.

Dangerous machinery: serious injuries: £10,000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Mil Tu Fit Engineering Ltd (2012) Bristol magistartes’ court, June 11.

Mil Tu Fit Engineering Ltd, a machining company, has been fined following an incident in which an employee suffered serious injuries from a dangerous machine.

Significant points of the case

  • In August 2011 Ian Spicer, an employee of Mil Tu Fit, was working at the company’s premises in Brislington, Bristol.

  • He was operating a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) lathe machine. The company had two CNC lathes on site. One was intended for machining short parts, and the other, with a bar feed attachment and guide, for machining longer parts. The second machine was in use. Spicer was told to use the lathe without the bar feed attachment to machine bars which were approximately 2.5 metres long.

  • Spicer was told to place a barrier of empty drums at the end of the machine, to fence off the rotating bar from passers-by. As the machine was operated, the bar became unsatble and bent under its own weight. It struck Spicer, throwing him to the ground and knocking him unconscious.

  • He suffered a compressed skull fracture which left skull fragments resting on his brain. He also suffered lacerations to his chest, a dislodged breast plate, fractured wrist and smaller wounds.

Mil Tu Fit was fined £10,000 plus £3600 costs for a breach of Regulation 11, Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).

An HSE spokesperson is reported to have commented after the case that the barriers had offered no protection for the machine’s operator and did notr support the bar which was spinning at extremely high speeds. If the company had used appropriate equipment which was available on site, the incident could have been avoided and Spicer would not have suffered terrible injuries.

Regulation 11 of PUWER states, in summary, that every employer shall ensure that measures are taken which are effective to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery, or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery.

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