A Shropshire steel engineering company has been fined after a worker got the sleeve of his overalls caught in an unguarded drill bit, causing serious neck and arm injuries. The circumstances were:
The employee from Shropshire was working with a twin pillar drill.
CRF (UK) Ltd had not provided any guards to prevent access to the rotating spindles and no formal systems of work were in place.
It was left to operator experience and discretion how work should be set up and performed and there were no formal systems of supervision or trainin
While drilling holes into a metal box section, the sleeve on his overalls became entangled in the unguarded running drill spindle.
He was pulled into the rotating spindle and as it continued to run, his arm and upper body were dragged into the machining area resulting in him being pinned to the machine bed.
The man suffered three fractures in his neck and serious cuts and burns on his right forearm.
CRF (UK) Ltd was fined £20,871 (inc. costs)
The HSE inspector said:
"The risk of contact with rotating drills is a recognised hazard in the engineering industry and is supported by well-documented accident statistics. Incidents involving entanglement on rotating drills are easily avoided if manufacturers like CRF (UK) Ltd follow their risk assessments and provide guarding. The custom and practice of the company was to rely on experience rather than on the need for guarding with the addition of, supervision and further instruction and training, as necessary. These failings had existed for a considerable amount of time until the practise of using unguarded machines became normal working practice for the employees. The result was that this was an accident waiting to happen and the employee suffered serious injuries. This accident could have been prevented by the simple measure of providing guarding to prevent access to the rotating parts. Employers who neglect their duty to protect workers will continue to be held to account where they fail to do so."