Recent prosecutions - engineering firm fined £200,000 for injuries to new employee 

An engineering company was hit with a £200,000 fine after a new recruit broke his arm in two places. The trainee was supporting another worker on a 60-metre lathe when some rubber material fell from the steel mandrel.

When the new employee instinctively grabbed the material, he was pulled into the machine, fracturing his left arm. 

The manufacturer’s manual for the machine states that the lathe should be enclosed with a fixed perimeter guard, and that the machine operator should be the only person in the work area.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed the firm had failed to take effective measures to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the lathe. The regulator also found the company’s system of work required employees to stand in a space that should have been enclosed by guards. 

HSE inspector Stephen Garner said: “After this accident, the company was able to install perimeter guards to prevent access to the rear of its 60-metre lathe, and altered its system of work so that operation of the lathe could be carried out from the safe area at the front of the machine – as intended by its manufacturer. This accident could have been prevented if action had been taken earlier.’

Prevent injuries from unguarded machinery 

This incident highlights the importance of properly guarded machinery and the critical role of safety awareness for new employees, including Day Zero training. To prevent machine-related injuries in your business, commit to an ongoing programme of maintenance, education and compliance. 

  • Include machinery and guards in your risk assessment process
  • Establish a rolling maintenance schedule and flag performance issues with pre-use checks. 
  • Ensure staff are trained on safe machinery use and strengthen understanding with regular refresher sessions. 
  • Take a zero-tolerance stance on removing or overriding guards. Regularly monitor and enforce this policy at all levels of your organisation, providing additional training where needed. 
  • Display signage to warn operatives of machinery hazards and provide instructions on reporting them.  
  • Educate staff about emergency stop controls. 
  • Train your team on how to respond in a machinery-related emergency.  

Get specialist advice and bespoke employee training 

We partner with employers to prevent accidents and create compliance-focused cultures. Talk to the Opus team about customised H&S programmes and targeted training for your business. 

Get in touch with an Opus consultant today.