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Engineering firm fined £18,000 after 'very lucky' employee escape

Coventry-based engineering firm Precision Ltd has been fined £18,000 and ordered to pay over £3,000 in costs after an employee was injured by an unguarded horizontal borer.

The employee, who has asked not to be named, was operating the machine on 20 May 2011. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive said that as he reached over to check a cut he had made, his sleeve touched a rotating part of the machine, and he was thrown over the top.

The 56-year-old was suspended upside-down by his belt, which caught on the component. He sustained minor lacerations, cuts and bruising to his right arm, side, and leg, and lower back.

After around a month off work, he returned to the company.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found that the machine had not been fitted with a guard, despite 15 years in the factory.

The firm pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Matthew Whitaker said: “Workers should not be able to access dangerous moving parts of machinery. To have not installed a guard on this machine was a serious failing and one which resulted in a man suffering a painful injury in what must have been a frightening incident.

“It’s not unusual for an incident like this to result in a fatality so the employee was very lucky. The company has since fitted guarding but it is disappointing they did not do so before it happened.”

The HSE provides advice on the safe use of machinery here.

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