Friday, 19 December 2014

Apprentice caught in unguarded milling machine

Magellan Aerospace of Bournemouth was fined £34,157 (inc. costs) after an apprentice worker suffered severe injuries to his arm when it became entangled in moving machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • On 11 March 2013 Adam Harris, an apprentice machinist, was machining a piece of nylon block on a vertical milling machine.
  • The machine was fitted with swing and slide guards but these were not interlocked to stop the machine when opened. 
  • It was routine practice at Magellan to remove guards when they wouldn’t close around a large vice, or when the workpiece was longer than the bed of the machine.
  • The company had a history of non-compliance in respect of milling machine guarding having received HSE enforcement notices in the past.
  • Magellan Aerospace failed to identify the risks when young, inexperienced apprentices worked on the machines with varying levels of supervision.
  • Mr Harris's right arm became caught around the spindle and cutter.
  • He sustained multiple breakages and injuries and spent five weeks in hospital undergoing numerous operations. His injuries may cause permanent impairment and disability.
  • Despite Mr Morris’ horrific incident, the company has since failed to put controls in place to stop the guards being removed until HSE issued enforcement notices requiring them to take action. 

The HSE Inspector said:
“Mr Harris has been traumatised at a very early stage of his working life and has suffered great pain in this incident. It could have been avoided had Magellan Aerospace fitted interlocks to stop the movement of dangerous parts and properly supervised the work, particularly in view of this young man’s level of experience. Vertical milling machines have the potential to be very versatile and there can be occasions where workpieces that could be completed on the machine might pose challenges to normal safeguarding arrangements. However, the solution is not to simply remove the machine’s guards and rely on the operator’s skill.”

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