A company that has been prosecuted by the HSE for health and safety violations which resulted in one of its employees suffering a broken neck has been found guilty by the Magistrates’ Court.
In December 2011, an unnamed employee (thirty-nine years of age at the time of the accident) was working for CRF (UK) Ltd in Wem, Shropshire, was working with a twin pillar drill when the sleeve on his overalls caught on the unguarded running drill spindle. As he was pulled into the rotating spindle, the man’s arm and upper body were dragged into the machine. The force of the machine caused him to break three bones in his neck, and he sustained serious lacerations and burns to his forearm.
The injured employee was immediately transported to hospital, and remained in the facility for seven weeks following the accident. He was forced to wear a neck brace after the incident to prevent further damage to the area, and had ten weeks of physiotherapy to help him regain strength in the left side of his body.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the accident, and found that the man’s employers-CRF (UK) Ltd, a steel engineering company-had not provided any guards to prevent access to the rotating spindles. There was no formal system of supervision or training in place in the company, as they relied on the experience and discretion of its operators to establish how work should be set up.
The HSE prosecuted the company for its health and safety violations, which were in breach of Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. At Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court, the company pleaded guilty to the charges, and were fined £13,000 by the magistrates for the offences. They were also ordered to pay £7,871 in costs for the trial.