Firm bosses fined after drill accident

BOSSES of Crane Ltd in Ipswich are facing a bill of more than �17,000 after admitting breaching health and safety regulations.

BOSSES of Crane Ltd in Ipswich are facing a bill of more than �17,000 after admitting breaching health and safety regulations.

Julie Rayner, representing the Health and Safety Executive, told magistrates the firm, which employed 400 people in the town before running down its operation, had committed two offences that put employees at risk.

One related to an incident on Friday, June 21, 2007 during which Stephen Herbert sustained injuries after one of his hands came in contact with a drill machine that did not have a safety guard.

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court heard that around 4.40pm Mr Herbert, who had worked for Crane in Nacton Road for 17 years, encountered problems with a drill and picked up a brush to sweep away debris. As he did so one of the fabric gloves he was wearing came into contact with the machine.

Mrs Rayner said the glove was mangled and Mr Herbert suffered bruising and lacerations. He was back at work the following Monday, however, he then had to take two weeks off when he had further problems with his hand.

The court was told Mr Herbert is now looking into the possibility of pursuing a civil claim.

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In a statement Mr Herbert said he could not remember seeing safety guards on the drills in three years.

A colleague, who also operated the same set of machines, told Health and Safety Executive officers the guards had disappeared two or three weeks before the accident.

The second breach admitted by Crane was that it failed to ensure the safety at work of employees in contravention of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Gloves were said to be a hazard when operating drills as they could become entangled. The company failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment which considered the wearing of gloves on the Corona 4 drill bank.

It also failed to provide suitable information, instruction and training relating to the necessary preventative and protective measures for health and safety.

Thirdly, it did not provide a suitable system for ensuring the guarding to pillar drills was used and maintained in place, and suitable for the purpose for which it was intended.

The court heard Crane's own employees had attempted to make guards for the machines, but these were deemed to be ineffective.

Magistrates fined Crane a total of �10,000 for the two offences. The firm was also ordered to pay �7,462 costs and a �15 government surcharge.

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