HSE prosecutes Somerset firm over engineering accident

An engineering firm based in Somerset has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a work accident resulted in an employee losing four fingers.

The incident occurred when apprentice machinist Kyle Bishop, 18, was working at the premises of Ashley’s of Yeovil in West Hendford. He was attempting to change the cutter of a milling machine when he accidentally switched it on, severing four of his fingers.

An investigation by the HSE has found that the accident could have been avoided had the firm taken more steps to ensure the health and safety of employees. As well as failing to carry out a suitable risk assessment of the task Mr Bishop was carrying out, the engineering firm also had a system for changing cutters that was “inherently unsafe”.

In addition, the milling machine was not properly guarded and had no interlocks, nor was the ‘start’ button covered. It is not known whether Mr Bishop had completed the proper health and safety training or not before he attempted his task.

As a result of the accident and Mr Bishop’s accident, the owners of Ashley’s of Yeovil were fined a total of £10,000. The company was also ordered to pay legal costs of more than £7,300.