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Farm equipment manufacturer fined after employee’s arm pulled into lathe

A farm equipment manufacturing company has been fined after a worker was left injured when his arm was pulled into a metalworking lathe.

18 November 2019

The incident happened when an employee was using an emery cloth to hand-polish a workpiece as it was being rotated on a manual lathe. The employee was wearing gloves when he got caught in the rotating chuck, causing his arm to be pulled into the machine. His arm was left fractured in four places.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the employees were not provided with necessary training, instructions or information needed in order to carry out this work in a safe manner. There was no risk assessment or company policy on the dangers of used an emery cloth or wearing gloves while operating a lathe. It was also found that the lathe was in operation without an emergency stop fitted to the machine.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,717.19.

A representative for the HSE commented: ‘This injury was easily preventable, and the risk should have been identified by the company. It was common practice to polish workpieces in the way the employee was doing, and to wear gloves whilst operating the lathes. Operatives and companies should be aware that emery cloth should never be applied directly by hand on a lathe, and that the wearing of gloves increases the risk of entanglement and is never acceptable near rotating parts of machinery. ‘

If you require any assistance or further information on training and carrying out risk assessments on your workplace hazards, please get in touch.

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