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October 30, 2015

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Insufficient control measures means £28K fine

Pirelli Tyres Limited has been prosecuted after a 17-year-old apprentice suffered serious injuries to his hands while using a metalwork lathe.

The teenager was making a trolley for a tool box on 19 August 2014 at the tyre manufacturer’s site in Burton-on-Trent where he was working as a mechanical maintenance apprentice.

Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard the apprentice was making a spindle for the wheels of the trolley using emery cloth while wearing gloves to perfect the finish. The spindle was fitted to a lathe and the cloth snagged pulling Mr Powell into the lathe. He suffered several breaks to his fingers and wrist and one finger was partially severed. Following the incident the injured worker has had three operations on his hands including metal pins fitted and his partially severed finger may still need to be amputated.

Investigating, HSE found there were very few control measures in place to prevent the incident. It was common practice for employees to use emery cloth to polish using lathes but no risk assessment was in place for this activity. It also found the training of apprentices at Pirelli Tyres on this matter was insufficient.

Pirelli Tyres Limited of Burton-on-Trent pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, 1974 and section 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and were fined a total of £28,000. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £1,418.60 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Wayne Owen said: “It is entirely foreseeable that if emery cloth is used on a lathe incorrectly then serious injury could occur.

“HSE has a specific information sheet on this practice and had this been followed by the company and a suitable risk assessment carried out, this incident could have been prevented. Every year there are serious accidents involving the use of emery cloth on metalworking lathes.

“Pirelli Tyres Limited has since taken action to deal with the deficiencies we identified during this investigation.”

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