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Company fined £200,000 after worker fractures arm

The 22-year-old, from Newcastle, had only recently started working as a manufacturing operative for the company when the incident occurred on 12 November 2021.

He was undergoing training when he was assisting another worker on the company’s 60-metre lathe at the firm’s site. The man was working at the rear of the lathe when the rubber material he had just applied fell from the steel mandrel. He instinctively reached to grab the material, and at the same time the lathe started, pulling him into the machine. This resulted in his left arm being broken in two places.

The machine was used to wrap rubber and other materials around a steel mandrel to form hose bodies for industrial hoses. The system of work at Gates Engineering involved one employee working at the front of the machine operating the controls, with a second employee assisting from the rear, helping to manually position the rubber materials being applied.

However, the manufacturer’s manual for the machine stated that the lathe should be enclosed with a fixed perimeter guard, and that access to the work area by persons other than the machine operator prevented.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to take effective measures to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the lathe, and that its system of work required employees to stand in an area that was meant to be enclosed by guards.

Gates Engineering & Services UK Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £3,653.70 in costs at Magistrates’ Court on 4 May 2023.

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