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Company fined after worker's arm impaled by steel bars

A company in Tonypandy has been fined after a worker's arm was impaled by two steel bars.

Allevard Springs Ltd was prosecuted for failing to adequately prevent the risk of injury to employees using machinery after Steven Rowe was seriously injured while operating a machine at the firm's Clydach Vale premises.

Pontypridd Magistrates' Court was told Mr Rowe, 49, of Pontypridd, was working as one of two shift operators on a bar drawing line machine, used to prepare steel bar lengths for processing into springs.

During the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution the court heard that on 28 January 2011, Mr Rowe noticed the bars exiting the straightening machine he was operating were not hitting a sensor, causing problems with the alignment of the bars on the next part of the machine. This could have resulted in the bars jamming.

Mr Rowe entered the machine enclosure via a sliding door to adjust an air pressure regulator in order to correct the stop position of the bars against the sensor.

While adjusting the air pressure, two steel bars of 10.5mm diameter and approximately two metres length shot out of the machine, piercing his right forearm. The court heard Mr Rowe managed to deflect a number of other bars with his left arm before a colleague shut the machine down.

Mr Rowe suffered a broken right arm, had to have 14 stitches to his left arm, and still receives outpatient treatment at hospital.

The HSE investigation found Allevard Springs Ltd had not taken measures to ensure the exposure of a person to the risk of steel bars being ejected was adequately controlled, and that no measures were in place to prevent access to the machine while it was running.

Allevard Springs Ltd of Clydach Vale, Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taf, pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 12 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,786.60.


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