Worker injured by lathe

A worker injured by lathe suffered lacerations to his forearm and injuries to his neck and face.  Kent Auto Developments Limited, a classic Mini car part manufacturing and engineering firm based in Romney Marsh, was fined following an investigation and prosecution.

On 10 August 2020, the worker was completing the process of polishing brake drums rotating on a manual metalworking lathe. The worker was applying emery cloth by hand, a practice condoned by the company, when he was drawn into the machine which resulted in lacerations to his forearm and injuries to his neck and face. Similar occurrences in Great Britain have resulted in other serious injuries to workers such as severed limbs.

The incident was not reported to Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as is required under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR), until three months after the incident.

An investigation by the HSE found that the business had failed to implement a safe system of work in that employees had routinely polished brake drums with an emery cloth by hand on the lathe. This task is known to be dangerous due to the potential risk of entanglement of the cloth in the rotating parts of the lathe, which can result in serious personal injury. If the requirement to use emery cloth on a lathe is unavoidable, then 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 Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £6,349.34 in costs.

“We still see incidents like this, where unsafe work practices with machinery lead to injury, despite the existence of specific guidance published by HSE.

“Workers coming into contact with machinery is the fourth biggest cause of workplace fatalities in Great Britain, with 14 people killed in the year 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 sustaining injury, where it is evident that persons are at risk of becoming entangled in machinery. It’s important that, when people do get hurt, the relevant authorities are notified so that action can be taken to prevent recurrence.”

HSE inspector Sam Brown

Work related deaths and certain injuries are required to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive under RIDDOR.  All deaths to workers and non-workers, with the exception of suicides, must be reported if they arise from a work-related accident, including an act of physical violence to a worker.

Specified injuries to workers

The list of ‘specified injuries’ in RIDDOR 2013 replaces the previous list of ‘major injuries’ in RIDDOR 1995. Specified injuries are (regulation 4):

  • fractures, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes
  • amputations
  • any injury likely to lead to permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight
  • any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs
  • serious burns (including scalding) which (i) covers more than 10% of the body, or (ii) causes significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs
  • any scalping requiring hospital treatment
  • any loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia
  • any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space which (i) leads to hypothermia or heat-induced illness, or (ii) requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours
worker injured by lathe
Specified work-related accidents must be reported

Over-seven-day incapacitation of a worker

Accidents must be reported where they result in an employee or self-employed person being away from work, or unable to perform their normal work duties, for more than seven consecutive days as the result of their injury. This seven-day period does not include the day of the accident but does include weekends and rest days. The report must be made within 15 days of the accident.

Over-three-day incapacitation

Accidents must be recorded, but not reported where they result in a worker being incapacitated for more than three consecutive days. If you are an employer, who must keep an accident book under the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979, that record will be sufficient.

Non-fatal accidents to non-workers (e.g. members of the public)

Accidents to members of the public or others who are not at work must be reported if they result in an injury and the person is taken directly from the scene of the accident to hospital for treatment to that injury. Examinations and diagnostic tests do not constitute ‘treatment’ in such circumstances.  There is no need to report incidents where people are taken to hospital purely as a precaution when no injury is apparent.

Occupational diseases

Employers and self-employed people must report diagnoses of certain occupational diseases, where these are likely to have been caused or made worse by their work: These diseases include:

  • carpal tunnel syndrome;
  • severe cramp of the hand or forearm;
  • occupational dermatitis;
  • hand-arm vibration syndrome;
  • occupational asthma;
  • tendonitis or tenosynovitis of the hand or forearm;
  • any occupational cancer;
  • any disease attributed to an occupational exposure to a biological agent.

Dangerous occurrences

Dangerous occurrences are certain, specified near-miss events. Not all such events require reporting. There are 27 categories of dangerous occurrences that are relevant to most workplaces, for example:

  • the collapse, overturning or failure of load-bearing parts of lifts and lifting equipment;
  • plant or equipment coming into contact with overhead power lines;
  • the accidental release of any substance which could cause injury to any person.

Gas incidents

Distributors, fillers, importers & suppliers of flammable gas must report incidents where someone has died, lost consciousness, or been taken to hospital for treatment to an injury arising in connection with that gas. Such incidents should be reported using the Report of a Flammable Gas Incident – online form.

Registered gas engineers (under the Gas Safe Register,) must provide details of any gas appliances or fittings that they consider to be dangerous, to such an extent that people could die, lose consciousness or require hospital treatment. The danger could be due to the design, construction, installation, modification or servicing of that appliance or fitting, which could cause:

  • an accidental leakage of gas;
  • incomplete combustion of gas or;
  • inadequate removal of products of the combustion of gas.

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