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Written by
on 30 May 2012


An employee working for a Cheltenham engineering firm was seriously injured after his head was trapped in a machine. The 33 year old, Gregorz Chylenski, was injured as he worked with the Computer Numerically Controlled machine. After dropping one of the parts he was using Mr Chylenski tried to pick it back up form inside the machine. Unfortunately his head was trapped resulting in cuts and a fractured jaw.

Vital Safety Function Was Not Enabled

Earlier the same day one of the directors of PG Components had altered the programming and during the investigation by the HSE they discovered that the safety function was turned off. This meant that when the machine doors opened the machine failed to stop.  The safety function is designed to ensure all of the moving parts cease to move once the doors open to help reduce the risk of injury.  It is possible to run the machine a lot faster by being able to work with the doors open and without the safety function on, but it increases the hazards when operating the machinery.

Machinery Must Be in a Safe Condition to Use

As the law clearly states that all employees have a duty to ensure the health and safety of their workers it was clear that PG Components would be prosecuted.  It is essential that all machinery is safe to use, which requires the use of safety functions and guards. It is also necessary to assess all working systems to check they are safe and also help to reduce any of the risks associated with specific duties.

Fines, Costs and Compensation

By permitting Mr Chylenski to operate the Computer Numerically Controlled machine his employers were putting his life at risk. The employee could have been more severely injured and even lost his life in the incident that could have easily been avoided.  As a result of the investigation by the Health and Safety Executive the company was prosecuted and fined £11,500 for breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.  In addition to the fine PG Components Ltd also had to pay just under £3,000 court costs and £2,500 compensation to Mr Chylenski.

Check Your Health and Safety Is Up to Scratch

Incidents like the one involving the Cheltenham Components firm can be avoided. You need to follow the law and regulations in place to reduce the risks and help employers do everything possible to keep their employees safe. Health and safety consultants are able to help identify and problem areas in your work premises with their services such as the health and safety audit.

With the health and safety audit it is possible to identify which areas need looking at, such as the proper use of machinery and whether machines are being used with safety features fully functional. You can contact the health and safety consultants directly to organise an audit or enquire into any other health and safety services you may require. Simply call 0800 1488 677 and speak to an expert today.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.