Aerospace firm fined £24k after apprentice breaks arm in machine

An aerospace company has been fined after an apprentice was severely injured when his right arm got caught in machinery.

The case was before Bournemouth magistrates on December 17, when the court heard that apprentice machinist Adam Harris, aged 23, suffered multiple breakages to his arm and could be left with a permanent disability after it became caught in an unguarded milling machine on March 11, last year.

Bournemouth-based Magellan Aerospace was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay £10,157 in costs after admitting one count of breaching its general duty to an employee under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and a second count of failing to take effective measures to prevent access to dangerous machine parts on and before the incident.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that although the machine was fitted with guards, they did not interlock properly and were routinely removed to deal with large workpieces.

Annette Walker, 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.

“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.”

Despite Mr Morris’s injuries, the company continued to use the machines without guards until HSE issued enforcement notices requiring them to take action, the court heard.

Magistrates were also told the company had a history of non-compliance in respect of milling machine guarding having received HSE enforcement notices in the past.