Company heads prosecuted over hydraulic press injury

Two Leeds-based company directors have been prosecuted after an employee had his fingers crushed in a hydraulic press.

The 57-year-old worker, who asked not be named, had the ends of two fingers severed in the incident in April 2009 at Lupton Fabrications Ltd, a metal fabricating company formerly owned by Dennis Brunt and Peter Critchard.

During its investigations, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is prosecuting the case, found the photoelectric detectors, called light curtains, used to protect workers from the closing tools of the press, were not operational at the time of the incident and had been routinely over-ridden for a number of years.

Leeds magistrates heard the light curtains only became operational again following the serving of prohibition notices as part of HSE’s investigation.

Dennis Brunt and Peter Critchard were found guilty of breaching regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, former Directors of Lupton Fabrications Ltd, while Stealsafe Ltd, their new company, was also found guilty of breaching the same regulation.

The two directors and Stealsafe Ltd were jointly fined £2,001 and ordered to pay £250 costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Angus Robbins said: “This incident is unacceptable, this employee lost his fingertips but he could have lost most of his hand and suffered severe injury”

“Preventing access to dangerous moving parts by having operational guards or other protective devices is essential. The standards of protection for hydraulic presses are well known within engineering businesses.”

“The fact the light curtains were in place and were readily repaired following the serving of the prohibition notices means this terrible incident could – and should – have been prevented.”