Aerospace firm fined after employee's hand is crushed
An aerospace firm has been fined £14,000 after an employee's hand was crushed in a press machine.
Kishor Patel, 53, from Loughborough, had to have three fingers and the thumb on his left hand amputated after it was crushed in a cooling press at Meggitt Aerospace, in Ashby Road, Shepshed, last May.
At Loughborough Magistrates' Court yesterday, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, which investigated the accident, said it was "completely preventable".
The court heard Mr Kishor had been making aircraft components and was in the process of removing a round mould from the press when the accident happened.
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As he did so, the bottom part of the hydraulic press – known as a platen – moved up, trapping his hand
Inspector Dr Richenda Dixon said: "Reaching into the danger zone between powered platens is inherently unsafe and there is foreseeable risk of crush injuries to the hand or arms.
"The press was one of a bank of a dozen, for which there were no individual controls.
"All 12 were old and had not been well maintained.
"In addition, the mould being used had no handles to help with its removal so there was no safe system of work for unloading the presses.
"The company simply did not appreciate the risks this machinery posed to the well-being of its workforce.
"As a result, a man has suffered a life-changing injury and has been unable to perform everyday tasks ever since."
In court, Dr Dixon also described how there were no daily safety checks for any of the industrial presses. Solicitors for Bournemouth-based Meggitt Aerospace, which has about 200 employees in Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to the charge of failure to ensure a duty of care.
The company was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £6,758 at yesterday's hearing.
Mr Patel, who began work at the firm in 1997, is also in the process of a civil claim against them for £20,000.
He hopes to restart work at the plant soon.
After the hearing, a spokesman for Meggitt Aerospace Ltd said it had reviewed its health and safety procedures. The spokesman said: "Meggitt Aerospace Ltd deeply regrets that one of its employees was injured at work in May last year.
"It was believed the risk from the equipment in question was adequately managed.
"The company co-operated in full with the HSE from the outset to understand the cause of the accident and accepts the sanction which the court has imposed today.
"Steps were taken immediately afterwards to prevent a recurrence and those lessons have been applied across the business."