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Manufacturer in Court after Worker Injured

A manufacturing firm has been fined for serious safety failings after a worker was injured when his hand was caught on the moving parts of a lathe at an Ayrshire factory.

Gordon Campbell suffered cuts and tendon damage to his right hand in the incident in Irvine and required surgery to repair the damage. He was off work for ten weeks, but fortunately has since made a full recovery and was able to return to work at the company.

Mr Campbell was working on a lathe to produce a component for use in the oil and gas industry. The lathe was fitted with interlocking safety doors to prevent access to the moving parts, but this safety feature had been disabled and the door was open to allow him to see work progressing on the component.

A piece of metal cutting came loose and Mr Campbell reached in with pliers in his right hand to take it away, but his hand came into contact with the rotating part of the lathe. He pressed the emergency stop button with his left hand and was taken to hospital after being given first aid.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that while the company had assessed the risks of various tasks within the factory, and interlocking safety doors were fitted to the lathe, the safety device on the lathe had been deliberately disabled by the company with a piece of tape used to override the interlock. This meant the lathe continued to operate with the door open.

The company was fined £4,700 after pleading guilty to one charge of breaching Regulation 11(1) and (2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

“This was an entirely avoidable incident,” commented HSE Inspector Callum MacDonald. “The dangers of working with machinery are well known.”

“As a result of the company’s failings, Mr Campbell suffered injuries to his right hand which could have been a lot worse,” he added.

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