National steel firm Tata Steel has been fined £1.98 million for safety failings after two of its employees suffered hand injuries in two separate machinery related incidents.
Northampton Crown Court heard how one of the firm’s employees, 26, lost most of his left hand and two of his fingers when attempting to clear a steel tube manufacturing line blockage which had not been guarded properly.
While in a separate incident, one of the firm’s team leaders, 52, lost part of a finger when he caught his left hand, also on a machine that was inadequately guarded, while he was receiving refresher training.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the incidents that took place on September 12, 2014, and February 19, 2015, and discovered that the company had failed to properly guard and manage the risks associated with the dangerous parts found in these items of machinery.
Based in Millbank, London, Tata UK Limited pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was subsequently handed a total fine of £1.98 million (£1.8 million for the second offence and £185,000 for the first offence), as well as being ordered to pay £22,500 in costs.
Following the hearing, Mark Austin, HSE inspector, commented: “Guarding of dangerous parts of machinery is a fundamental of ensuring workers safety, HSE will not hesitate to hold those accountable who do not fulfil their legal obligations, especially if that results in someone receiving life changing injuries.”
The HSE says that any decisions to prosecute a company is always conducted in line with the established principles of the published Enforcement Policy Statement, while the severity of the fine imposed is always to be decided by the courts.