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Severe Injuries Caused by Working with Machinery
Posted by David Cant on March 18, 2013

Machines can be deadly and also can result in multiple injuries both minor and extremely severe. To help reduce the risks caused by working with machinery there are regulations designed to control and reduce those risks. One of those risks is to have in place the appropriate safety guards. These guards can protect employees from coming into contact with the most dangerous parts reducing accidents.

Serious Injuries Caused By CNC Lathe

A 34 year old man was injured severely when he came into contact with the dangerous parts of a Computer Numerically Controlled lathe while working in Bristol. Mr Spicer was employed by Mil Tu Fit Engineering on August 30 2011 when the incident happened.  On site there were two lathe machines which had separate uses.  One was for shorter machine parts and the other for longer parts which had a bar feed attachment.

On the day of the employee’s injuries the machine used for long parts was being worked on, so the man was told to work on the machine for shorter parts even though it didn’t have the right attachment in place. His employers told him to use barrels at the end of the machine but the bar became unstable. As the bar bent Mr Spicer turned to see what was going on and he was struck in the head by the bar, and fell to the floor unconscious.  The accident resulted in a shattered skill, skill fracture and there were parts of skull on his brain.  He also suffered with serious injuries to his chest, a broken wrist and many smaller wounds.

No Thought Given to the Safety of Machine Operator

The barrels Mr Spicer was instructed to place at the end of the machine were in order to stop other people from being hurt while the machine was in use.  Unfortunately there had been no consideration for Mr Spicer’s safety.  The bar was not supported as it spun resulting in this awful incident. Since the accident Mr Spicer has been able to return to work but his working future is uncertain as he is still suffering with physical problems as well as flashbacks.

This accident could have been avoided if the right guards had been in place when the machine was being operated.  The engineering company was found guilty and fined £10,000 with £3,632 in court costs added to the fine. They had breached Regulation 11(1) of the Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. All employers must make sure any machine with rotating stock bars or dangerous parts must be protected to prevent any access. The dangerous parts must be stopped before anyone tries to enter the danger zone and provisions such as guards must be in place.

Know the Regulations and Stay Safe

Health and safety services are available to everyone.  One of the services available is a full health and safety audit which can highlight problems with machinery and your current health and safety policy.  Call 0800 1488 677 to discuss the regulations and legislation with health and safety consultants and request more information regarding any of the available health and safety services.


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.

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