Worker’s seriously injuries after arms entangled in machine

A worker has had both of their arms entangled within a high powered lathe, causing serious injuries because safety systems on the machine had been defeated.

He ended up breaking both arms in his left arms and both wrists after they were entangled in a prop shaft he was polishing.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found an interlocked guard on the machine had been defeated, which meant workers carried out tasks in an unsafe manner, leading to the incident on 14 May 2014.

The company who employed the man ended up pleading guilty to breaching their duties under the Health and Safety at work act 1974.

It was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay full costs (£1,178).

Investigating HSE inspector Clive Neil said:

“Mr Hayes was using emery cloth to finish polishing the prop shaft in the computer numerical controlled (CNC) lathe. The machine had an interlocked guard which would have prevented him doing this work in the unsafe manner that ultimately caused his serious injuries, but this had been defeated. Polishing with emery cloth should never take place on CNC lathes.

“There was a disconnect between the company’s risk assessment and the way tasks were actually carried out on the shop floor. This led to unsafe systems of work, which caused a relatively inexperienced employee to suffer serious injuries. It is only down to luck that Mr Hayes was not more seriously injured – amputations, even fatalities, have occurred in similar incidents.

Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act requires an employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all its employees.

Source: HSE