Sheffield firm owner in court for repeat safety breach

A Sheffield business man has been fined after he failed to heed warnings from safety experts to properly guard the dangerous machinery he had in his workplace.

The owner was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an inspector carried out a routine visit to the company on 11th September 2013.

The magistrates heard that the inspector noted during the visit that a radial arm drill was unguarded. A telescopic guard was available for the machine but could not be fitted as it was too damaged.

The HSE served a prohibition notice on the owner to prevent use of the drill until it was properly guarded. The court was told that the owner had been served a similar enforcement way back in 2003 and a further letter needed to be sent in 2009 when the same radial arm drill was found unguarded.

HSE prosecuted the company, which makes fire escapes and other metal work for them failing to ensure that effective guarding was put in place to prevent the operators from getting too close to the rotating parts of the machine.

The owner was fined £500 and ordered to pay £585 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations

After the case was over the HSE inspector said:

“Fortunately, no one was hurt at the factory but this came down to chance rather than good management. Any one of the owners employees could have been seriously injured as a result of operating the unguarded radial arm drill at the factory.

“These risks have been known for well over a decade. The owner would have been well aware of these risks but he still then went on to choose to ignore them.

“While he had complied with the prohibition notices within the specified timeframe, he neglected safety again and again, and disregarded any lesson he should have learned from previous enforcement action on the exact same machine.”

Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken…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.”