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£200k fine following machine operator's leg injury

16 December 2020

A TITANIUM supplier has been fined after an employee sustained multiple fractures to his leg while operating a metal cutting band saw machine.

Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on 20 September 2017, Steven McDonald, a VSMPO Tirus Limited employee, was seriously injured by a falling titanium plate at The IO Centre in Nash Road, Redditch. Almost 1.5 tonnes of titanium plate fell from the bed of a metal cutting band saw machine trapping his leg underneath. The sheets being cut were significantly larger than the machine bed.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to suitably and sufficiently assess the risk of material falling from the machine bed and failed to put in measures to control the risk. An extension to the machine bed or stanchions with back stops would have prevented the material from falling from the machine bed.

VSMPO Tirus Limited of Nash Road, Redditch, Worcestershire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,293.15.

Steven McDonald said, “This has been the worst couple of years of my life. I feel I have been dealt a bad hand. I have come through it, but I have a long way to go. My recovery isn’t going to be a quick fix and I think everyone knows this. My friends, family and the company have supported me.”

HSE inspector Elizabeth Thomas added, “A simple, cost-effective solution could have prevented this horrendous injury.”