Tyre manufacturer Pirelli has been fined £20,000 after an employee at its Carlisle plant had his arm crushed in a tyre testing machine.
The incident, which happened at the company’s Dalston Road plant in the Cumbrian city in January 2012, led to a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution, which found safety procedures for carrying out maintenance were lacking.
Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard the worker was trying to fix a fault on the machine, which lubricates, inflates and then measures tyres, after it was switched back on following the Christmas shutdown.
A tyre became stuck after the processing two successfully in automatic mode, which led to the employee reaching into the machine when it began operating again and trapping his arm.
The investigation found that the fault had occurred several times in the past after the machine was restarted following previous Christmas shutdowns, but Pirelli had failed to carry out a specific risk assessment for this maintenance work.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Michael Griffiths said the management of Pirelli leading up to the accident had left a lot to be desired.
“A moment’s lapse in concentration left an employee with major injuries to his left arm because Pirelli’s management of the risks from maintenance work wasn’t good enough.
“The fault with the machine had occurred before, following previous Christmas breaks, but the company didn’t have a specific risk assessment in place to make sure it could be fixed safely.
Mr Griffiths added: “Although Pirelli did have written Safe Working Procedures, they were not effective because the employees were either unaware of them or weren’t following them, and no effort was made to check that the procedures were being followed.
“This incident could have been avoided if Pirelli had done more to make sure that risks were being properly assessed and its employees were following safe working practices.”