Dyson fined after worker injured

Technology firm Dyson fined after worker injured by a machine sustained head and chest injuries when he was struck by a 1.5 tonne milling machine.

The worker, at Dyson’s Wiltshire factory, was hit while moving the machine, which fell on top of him.  He only escaped being crushed under the weight of the machine because it landed on two toolboxes and the handle of another machine. The incident happened on August 27, 2019. 

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Dyson Technology Limited failed to provide suitable and sufficient information, instruction, and training to those undertaking the task. They also failed to adequately assess the task and devise a safe system of work to ensure the machine was moved safely.

Dyson fined
Milling machine accident (coutesy of HSE)

The investigation found that two employees were moving a large CNC milling machine within the engineering department of Dyson’s site at Tetbury Hill, Malmesbury. The employees lifted the machine using a five-tonne jack and were in the process of replacing two fixed roller skates with several wooden blocks when it fell.

One of the employees was struck by the machine and sustained a wound to his head and injuries to his chest.

At Swindon Magistrates’ Court Dyson Technology Limited of Tetbury Hill, Malmesbury, Wiltshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £1.2m and ordered to pay costs of £11,511.

“This incident could have been fatal. Those in control of work have a duty to assess the risks, devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction, and training to their workforce.

“Had a suitable safe system of work been in place this incident and the related injuries could have been prevented.”

HSE inspector James Hole

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) require employers to put in place arrangements to control health and safety risks. As a minimum, employers must have the processes and procedures required to meet the legal requirements, including:

  • a written health and safety policy (if they employ five or more people)
  • assessments of the risks to employees, contractors, customers, partners, and any other people who could be affected by work activities – and record the significant findings in writing (if they employ five or more people). Any risk assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’
  • arrangements for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures that come from risk assessment
  • access to competent health and safety advice either internally or externally e.g. a consultant
  • providing employees with information about the risks in their workplace and how they are protected
  • instruction and training for employees in how to deal with the risks
  • ensuring there is adequate and appropriate supervision in place 
  • consulting with employees about their risks at work and current preventive and protective measures

If you require health and safety advice or support for your business, please contact one of the Ashbrook team.