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6th September 2023

Machinery Accident Costs Manufacturer £200k Fine

person operating machine

What’s Happened?

A Northumberland-based manufacturer has recently been fined £200,000 after it failed to guard and prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery – which led to a trainee’s left arm being pulled into a lathe and broken in two places.

The Accident

A 22-year-old trainee – who’d only started working for the company shortly before the incident occurred – was assisting another more experienced worker on the firm’s 60m metre lathe at its Northumberland-based factory.

It is understood that the machine in question was used to wrap rubber and other materials around a steel shaft in order to form industrial hoses.

The trainee was working at the rear of the lathe when the rubber material he had just applied fell from the steel shaft. He instinctively reached to grab the material but in doing so made contact with the moving lathe resulting in his left arm being pulled into the machine, subsequently breaking it in two places.

HSE Investigation

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) arrived at the site and found that the company’s system of work for operating the lathe involved one employee working at the front of the lathe operating the controls, and a second employee assisting from the rear of the lathe to help position the materials being applied.

However, HSE discovered that upon consulting the manufacturer’s manual for the machine, the lathe should have been enclosed with a fixed perimeter guard and access to the work area prevented. The company was in effect operating an unsafe system of work by allowing employees access to the dangerous parts of the lathe and requiring employees to stand in an unsafe area that was actually meant to be enclosed by guards.

In Court

The Company appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on 4th May 2023 where they pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company received a £200,000 fine and was also ordered to pay £3,653.70 in costs.

Speaking after the prosecution, the HSE inspector involved in the case 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.’

‘Ultimately, this accident was both foreseeable and preventable.’

If you have any queries regarding machinery safety requirements or risk assessments, then don’t hesitate to call our advice line on 0300 303 5228 or email us at

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