A manufacturing company has been fined after a worker became entangled in a machine and has been left paralysed from the chest down.
The man, from Worcester, had been working for Mountfield CNC Ltd at the firm’s site at Berry Hill Industrial Estate in Droitwich when the incident took place on 4 January 2022.
He had been setting up a CNC machine when he became entangled with the machine’s rotating saw.
This has led to the 65-year-old man suffering a fractured neck resulting in him becoming paralysed from the chest down.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found Mountfield CNC Ltd failed to take effective measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of the CNC machine. The machine was fitted with interlocked guards, but the interlocks had been defeated before the incident – allowing the machine to move without guards in place.
The company should have identified the need for effective interlocking guards and monitored safeguards to ensure they had not been tampered with.
HSE guidance can be found at: Health and safety in engineering workshops HSG129 (hse.gov.uk)
Mountfield CNC Ltd, of Unit 2 W Stone, Berry Hill Industrial Estate, Droitwich, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,094 at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on 27 July 2023.
HSE inspector Harry Shaw said:
"This life-changing injury was easily preventable, and the risk should have been identified."
"Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery."
This HSE prosecution was supported by HSE enforcement lawyer Nathan Cook.