Steel bars shot from machine break worker’s arm in Wales..
A Welsh company has been fined £10,000 after an employee’s arm was pierced by two steel bars.
The company was prosecuted as a HSE investigation had determined it hadn’t done enough to protect the safety of employees while they were using dangerous machinery,
The 49 year-old accident victim had been working alongside another shift worker on a bar drawing line machine which processes steel bars into springs when he noticed that the steel bars were not touching a sensor used to align them with a part of the machine. The man proceeded to enter the machine enclosure through a sliding door to correct the fault as he was concerned about the possibility of the bars becoming jammed. He attempted to adjust an air pressure controller thinking this would correct the position of the bars in relation to the sensor but while he was doing so, two metal bars, each two metres long and 10.5 mm in diameter came shooting out of the machine at a rapid velocity in his direction, impaling his right forearm. A number of other bars were also shot in his direction but he managed to deflect many of these with his left arm until his colleague managed to shut down the machine.
The man was treated in hospital for a fractured right arm and received 14 stitches in his left arm. He continues to receive outpatient treatment as he recovers from his injuries.
The HSE was critical of the company for failing to have any safety measures in place to deal with the risk of steel bars being ejected from the machine and also for failing to prevent workers from accessing the machine while it was still operating.
Hugh Emment, the HSE Inspector who investigated the case spoke after the court hearing:
“Serious incidents involving machinery which is not, or inadequately, guarded are unfortunately still a common event.
“Incidents often result in the injured person having to deal with significant, long-term negative consequences for themselves and their families.
“Employers should ensure that machinery is suitably and sufficiently assessed. This includes taking into account relevant guidance and standards, so that all necessary guarding is in place and maintained in a good condition.”
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 12 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,786.60.
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