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Manufacturing company fined

25 January 2013

A manufacturing firm has been prosecuted after health and safety failures at its Northumberland premises.

A manufacturing firm has been prosecuted after health and safety failures at its Northumberland premises.

Hendry Hydraulics was prosecuted after Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors visited Hendry Eurohoist Cylinders in Ashington and served two Prohibition Notices.

South Northumberland Magistrates' Court heard the notices were served because the locking mechanism on the doors to two CNC (computer numerically controlled) lathes, designed to prevent workers coming into contact with dangerous moving parts, had been deliberately bypassed.

On 11 March 2010, two HSE Inspectors saw a machine being set up with a spare key inserted into the locking mechanism of the interlock safety device. This meant the machine was capable of operating at full speed with the doors open.

This was observed just four months after an HSE Inspector had stopped work on the same two lathes because safety interlocks had been defeated.

Further investigations revealed the company had provided workers with a spare interlock key to bypass the safety devices.

Hendry Hydraulics Ltd, of Pinefield Industrial Estate, Elgin, Morayshire, pleaded guilty to two breaches of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined a total of £20,000 (£10,000 for each offence). The company was also ordered to pay costs of £6,621.

After the case, HSE Inspector Sally Brecken said: "Companies have a legal duty to ensure there are adequate safeguards in place to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery. This company had already been served a Prohibition Notice in 2009 regarding the defeating of interlocks on machinery.

"These enforcement notices are served only when there is a risk of serious personal injury.

"However, despite the warning, the company failed to maintain standards and when we returned to the site in March 2010 we saw safety devices being defeated for a second time.

"This has now led to a prosecution but could easily have led to a serious injury. Employers should ensure that advice is followed and standards are maintained."