Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

January 14, 2015

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Two separate incidents result in severe injuries at a Newport company

Moonsys Technology Ltd (trading as Recovery Rollers) a Newport roller manufacturer, has been fined after two employees suffered life-changing injuries whilst operating rotating machinery, in two separate incidents in 2013.

The first incident occurred on 18 April 2013. It was heard in court how Ross Powell-Morris, 32, from Oxwich, required amputation of his left arm after being drawn into a CNC lathe while polishing a metal roller journal using emery cloth. He also suffered scarring to his face and is still in constant pain. Mr Powell-Morris has been unable to return to work.

On investigation into this incident HSE found that:

  • the lathe was not effectively maintained and the safety interlocks to prevent access to the dangerous parts were not working;
  • the emergency safety bar designed to stop the machine when necessary had been propped up on a plastic box to catch an oil leak and also was not operational;
  • a risk assessment had not been completed for the task;
  • there was no documented safe system of work for polishing parts safely using emery cloth on a powered lathe;
  • the company should have prevented the use of gloves, which Mr Powell-Morris was wearing, when operating a CNC lathe, provided a suitable manual lathe and supplied appropriate tools so that polishing could be completed safely.

In the second incident, on 22 May 2013, Stephen Harris, 53, from Pontnewydd, was drawn into a powered lathe that he was using to unwrap cloth from a processing roller.

Mr Harris sustained severe internal and external injuries. He broke his knees, left wrist, right thigh and suffered trauma to his head. He has not been able to return to work and is expected to undertake months of physiotherapy to improve his mobility. It is still unclear whether Mr Harris will make a full recovery.

An HSE investigation into the second incident revealed:

  • that Moonsys Technology failed to provide a sufficient risk assessment for the removal of cloth using a powered lathe; and
  • that the company failed to provide a safe system of work for the task, such as limiting the speed at which the lathe could rotate during unwrapping and ensuring that the removed cloth was placed into a suitable receptacle during unwrapping to prevent the risk of entanglement.

Moonsys Technology Ltd of Western Industrial Estate, Ponthir Road, Caerleon, Newport, was fined a total of £70,000 and ordered to pay £20,710 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Speaking after the hearing at Newport Crown Court, HSE inspector Gethyn Jones said: “Entanglement in rotating parts of machinery is a well-known risk but Moonsys Technology clearly failed to ensure the safety of its employees, with terrible life-changing consequences for both Mr Harris and Mr Powell-Morris and their families.

“Both incidents could have been prevented had there been a safe system of work in place for the tasks and full risk assessments carried out. Furthermore, companies that use rotating machinery should have a very clear policy on the use of gloves, which should never be used in conjunction with such machinery.”

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Bob Wallace
Bob Wallace
7 years ago

Surely the HSE were informed of the first incident and attended the site? I know when the company I worked for in 2006 had an incident involving an industrial conveyor (no prosecution followed as all safety systems and training records were in place and it was purely behaviour related), which resulted in the employee suffering serious injuries; they were out the same day and inspected every other conveyor. I accept the employer has failed in a significant manner regarding RA and training, but I’d have expected the HSE to conduct a close inspection of all other rotating machinery in the… Read more »