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Engineering firm fined after worker dragged into moving machinery

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An engineering firm that failed to properly guard dangerous moving parts of equipment has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries when he was dragged into a machine.


Sefton Magistrates’ Court in Bootle yesterday heard how Peter Wilson, 58, was working at Cope Engineering (Radcliffe) Ltd’s plant when the cuff on his overalls was caught by the screws on a rotating three-metre-long cylinder on 9 July 2012.

Mr Wilson was reaching over to adjust a component on the machine when his overalls became caught, pulling him in and twisting him around. He sustained injuries to his back and knee, and required 12 stitches to his arm. He was off work for seven weeks as a result of his injuries.

His injuries could have been worse were it not for a quick-thinking colleague, who pushed the emergency stop button and cut Mr Wilson’s overalls to stop them becoming more entangled.

Cope Engineering was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,767 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

“Workers at the factory were put at a significant risk of their clothes becoming entangled on a daily basis, so it was almost inevitable that someone would eventually be injured,” HSE inspector Helen Mansfield said after the hearing.

“Cope Engineering should have carried out a proper assessment of the risks faced by workers, and then acted to tackle the dangers. If the measures the company implemented following the incident had been in place sooner, then Peter’s injuries could have been avoided.”

“An employee was badly injured in the incident but it could easily have been much worse if his colleague hadn’t acted quickly to stop the machine and cut his overalls free.

The court was told Cope Engineering made several changes to its working practices following the incident, including removing protruding screws from the cylinders, operating the machine at a slower speed when adjustments were being made, and changing the clothing worn by employees.

 

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