Drilling accident fine of £3,500

Drilling accident fine of £3,500

A Fife-based groundwork company has been fined £3,500 for breaches in health and safety law following a drilling accident.

Consolidate Ltd pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

An employee suffered multiple fractures to both arms and a broken elbow after becoming entangled with a drill string.

The accident happened in May 2005 in Penicuik, Midlothian.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) undertook a full investigation of the incident and submitted a report to the procurator fiscal.

Following the hearing, Hazel Yuill, an HSE Inspector involved in the case, said: “This was a particularly nasty accident and could have been totally avoided if the correct health and safety procedures had been followed.

“The HSE welcomes the fine and hopes that it will act as a stiff reminder to all companies using drilling equipment and other heavy machinery that they are responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees. They should act before it’s too late.

“Safe operation of this machine relied on training, experience and close supervision all of which were very limited in this case.

“The only safety system present on the machine was a single trip wire, which was not operating correctly and was not checked regularly.

“There were also no written instructions detailing the work methods to ensure safety.”

The HSE have identified the guarding of drilling rigs as a priority area and will be carrying out a series of targeted inspections on this work area in 2007.

A fixed guard should be used for the majority of drilling work as the primary method of preventing access to the dangerous parts of the machinery.

Source: BBC News

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