Poorly guarded machinery led to car plant worker suffering horrific personal injuries when he was dragged by the conveyor belt through the processing unit.
The 57 year old maintenance electrician, who was monitoring a defective piece of equipment to find the cause of the fault, was struck by an empty container moving through a gap in the machinery along a circular conveyer belt.
After being knocked to the ground, the electrician was dragged by the conveyer belt into a restricted processing area where he suffered severe crushing injuries to his lungs, fractured ribs, spine and right hand, and a blood clot to his heart. Under intensive care in hospital, the maintenance fitter was put into an induced coma for the first twelve days and was only able to return to work after more than four months of recovery.
Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was found that the car manufacturer had failed in its duty to ensure a safe system of work had been put into place. As a result of insufficient machinery guards to prevent injuries occurring, the company had allowed access to dangerous moving parts within the production process, and created a crush hazard from the moving conveyer belt.
At Birmingham Crown Court in December 2014, the car manufacturer pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1999* and fined £40,000 plus £13,474 towards prosecution costs.
*Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1999 states that 1) Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken in accordance with paragraph (2) which are effective (a) to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or (b) to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone (HSE).