KENT AUTO Developments Limited, a Romney Marsh-based classic Mini car parts manufacturing and engineering company, has been fined after a worker was injured after becoming entangled in a metal lathe.
On August 10, 2020, the worker was completing the process of polishing rotating brake drums on a manual metal lathe. The worker was applying emery cloth by hand, a practice condoned by the company, when he was pulled into the machine, which caused lacerations to his forearm and injuries to his neck and face . Similar events in Britain resulted in other serious worker injuries, such as severed limbs.
The incident was not reported to the HSE, as required by the Reporting of Injuries, Illness and Hazardous Occurrences Regulations 2013, until three months after the incident.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to implement a safe working system as employees regularly polished brake drums with emery cloth in their hands on the turn. This task is known to be dangerous due to the potential risk of web entanglement in rotating lathe parts, which can result in serious injury. If the requirement to use emery cloth on a lathe is unavoidable, tool posts and holding devices should be used.
At Folkestone Magistrates’ Court, Kent Auto Developments Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. 1974 and Regulation 4(2) of the Reporting of Injury, Illness and Hazardous Occurrence Regulations 2013 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £6,349.34 in costs.
HSE Inspector Sam Brown said: ‘We still see incidents like this where unsafe working practices with machinery lead to injury, despite there being specific guidance issued by the HSE.
“Workers coming into contact with machinery are the fourth leading cause of workplace fatalities in Britain, with 14 people killed in 2020/21. Over 50,000 non-fatal injuries were reported by employers in the same year .
“Employers should ensure that measures are taken to prevent workers from injuring themselves where it is clear that people are at risk of becoming entangled in machinery. It is important that when people are injured, the relevant authorities are informed so that action can be taken to prevent it from happening again.