Large fines for machinery health and safety breach

In County Durham, a worker was cut by machinery at his work place.  He was conducting maintenance on the machine for Solaglas, a large glass manufacturer, when a tilt table cut his hand.  The incident occurred in 2007 when the technician was 34 years old.  The HSE was brought in to conduct health and safety audits to find out what occurred to make the machine cut the individual’s hand.  It was found that the machine had been installed in the factory only four months prior to the incident.

The jury was told about the injury during which the worker was on his hands and knees trying to see where the fault was.  The machine had stopped due to an emergency stop button.  He had his wrist above a sheet of glass trying to check the machine.  A colleague went past a sensor on the machine that caused it to move.  The glass fell through the technician’s wrist thus severing his hand.  His hand was reattached, but it took months for his hand to recover.  He still has problems with the hand.  It was found that health and safety breaches occurred because the programme was faulty in failing to keep the glass in place.  It was actually Lisec and not the glass factory that was prosecuted because it was their machine that was faulty.  The company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £150,000 in other costs since the breach happened based on their faulty equipment.