Serious neck injuries caused in accident at work

A 39 year old man sustained serious neck injuries in an accident at work involving unguarded machinery.

CRF (UK) Ltd, a Shropshire steel engineering company, has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for serious safety failings.

The man, who has not been named, was working with a twin pillar drill when the accident at work occurred. Whilst drilling holes into a metal box section, the sleeve on his overalls became entangled in the running drill spindle. The drill was unguarded.

He was pulled into the rotating spindle as it continued to operate. His arm and upper body was dragged into the machining area which caused him to become pinned to the machine bed. He was unable to reach the stop button and shouted for help. A colleague eventually freed him.

The man suffered three fractures to his neck and serious cuts and burns to his arm. This resulted in him being in hospital for seven weeks, having to endure ten weeks of physiotherapy and had to be in a neck brace for six months. As a result of his injuries, the left side of his body is weakened.

CRF (UK) Ltd had not provided any guards to prevent access to rotating spindles and no formal systems of work were in place. The operators of machinery were left to use experience and discretion about how work should be set up and performed. There were no formal systems of supervision or training.

Vicki Wright, expert personal injury lawyer at Swain & Co, says, “The risks of unguarded machinery are well known and documented.”

“It is unacceptable that some firms are still neglecting their duty to protect their employees from moving parts of machinery.”

Vicki adds, “The consequences of failing to do this are that serious injuries occur in preventable accidents at work, which can and do have lifelong impacts.”