On 5 September 2018, two employees of Sulzer Electro Mechanical Services (UK) were standing on the chuck of a large vertical boring machine at a site in Bordesley, Birmingham, to set it. The start button was inadvertently pressed and, despite the interlocked perimeter fencing access doors being open, the chuck started to rotate.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigators revealed that the interlocks on the perimeter fencing access doors were not working, and there were no safety checks in place to ensure that the interlocks were in working order.
At Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, Sulzer Electro Mechanical Services (UK) pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company, which had a turnover of just £62,045 in 2018, was fined £86,000 plus costs of £2,111.
“We hope that as a result of this case, industry will better understand the importance of maintaining effective control measures," said HSE inspector Christopher Maher after the hearing.
“It is important that guarding arrangements, including interlocks, are checked regularly, to ensure that they are in good repair and efficient working order.”