A worker at a steel firm based in Preston, suffered serious internal injuries after being impaled by an industrial drill.
Forty five year old Joseph Spencer was employed by Leach Structural Steel Work Ltd, at their factory in Claughton on Brock, when he attempted to fix a fault on the industrial drilling machine, which was not feeding coolant correctly onto the machines drills.
Preston Crown Court, was told that the worker had gained access to the machine through a loosened fence panel, which other workers at the factory regularly used as a gate, however as he attempted to cure the coolant problem one of the drills began moving towards him, piercing his overalls and coming to rest close to his spine.
Mr. Spencer suffered serious personal injury in the accident, including a split bowel and a twisted pelvis but was lucky not to be paralysed, as the drill came to a stop dangerously close to his spine.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that by using the fence panel, workers by-passed the machines photoelectric light guards, which stopped the machine automatically, this was done because there had been previous instances of the machine being difficult to re-start after the safety guards had been activated.
Leach Structural Steel Work Ltd was prosecuted by the HSE and fined £20,000 after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.