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Employee left with 83 staples in head after grinding wheel accident in Lincoln

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

Lincoln Magistrates' Court

Lincoln Magistrates' Court

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A company has been ordered to pay more than £22,000 after an employee was left with 83 staples in his head following an accident with a grinding wheel.

Zach Martin suffered a fractured skull and facial injuries after the accident at the Lincoln factory of Wyman Gordon Limited, which employs 75 people locally.

A part of Mr Martin's skull was left touching his brain following the accident and he had to have surgery.

Mr Martin, an agency worker, began his job as a fettler in August 2010. He received between three and five hours of basic training when he started work and was supervised by an experienced employee to begin with. Mr Martin was not given training or information on how to change the grinding wheels needed to carry out his job. The company took the decision not to send Mr Martin on an external training course until it had been decided whether he would stay on at the factory.

Neil Cameron, defending, claimed that Mr Martin was told not to change the wheels under any circumstances.

But on October 17, Lincoln Magistrates' Court heard how Mr Martin had changed the grinding wheels between five and 10 times between starting the job and the accident in October 2010.

On the day of the accident, Mr Martin was using a grinding wheel he had changed himself the previous day. The wheel fractured, flew towards his head, smashing his visor. He was taken to Lincoln County Hospital before being transferred to Sheffield for surgery.

The company, which produces and manufactures complex metal components, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It was fined £16,500, ordered to pay £6,178.40 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

"We deeply regret the accident that occurred to Mr Martin. The company has always been committed to ensuring a safe working environment for its workers," said Alan Rogers, from Wyman Gordon Limited.

"The company has fully co-operated with the Health and Safety Executive throughout its investigations and has now improved its health and safety systems further to try to ensure that there are no similar accidents.

"The company is pleased to say that Mr Martin has made a return to full-time duties."

Speaking after the hearing, Scott Wynne, HM Inspector of Health and Safety, said; "It serves as a reminder for other companies that they need to train employees correctly."

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  • 917199  |  October 18 2012, 8:57PM

    Alight VictorToo and Marbro1, Next time the bin man is down your street, and he does not empty your bin because he has not been signed off on manual handleing of your bin, see whos laughing then. Its about training on the equipment you use, why not be fully trained, it costs extra in downtime for someone else to change the grinding wheel for him,over X amount of time, the employer might aswell have shelled out and trained him in the first place.

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  • nigelsparky  |  October 18 2012, 1:01PM

    "Mr Martin was told not to change the wheels under any circumstances". Lesson here? Put it in writing.

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  • VictorToo  |  October 18 2012, 11:24AM

    @917199 He had been trained to operate the machine, which is why the report says "He received between three and five hours of basic training when he started work and was supervised by an experienced employee to begin with." What he hadn't been trained to do was change the grinding wheels, but if there are experienced people around qualified to change the wheels, and he has been told not too, then where's the problem ? The problem comes when he has been changing grinding wheels without being authorised, and the employer (if they knew), didn't stop him.

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  • Marbo1  |  October 18 2012, 10:10AM

    I agree with you Victor, besides Mr Martin was told not to change the wheels under any circumstances, i'm sure there was a appropriately trained employee who would have been more than willing to assist in this task if asked. 917199 "You wouldn't expect a bin man to perform heart Sergery without training" I wouldn't expect a bin man to perform heart surgery with or without training. I think we should leave that kind of thig to the surgeons. What a ludicrous comment!

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  • VictorToo  |  October 18 2012, 8:29AM

    @discostoo I don't know the full circumstances, but would you pay to train someone when you already had staff qualified to change grinding wheels and the guy is still in a probationary period and could leave ? I doubt it ?

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  • 917199  |  October 18 2012, 8:28AM

    You wouldn't expect a bin man to perform heart Sergery without training, why would you expect an employee to operate a machine without being able to maintain it? Apsolutly right discos too, all about cutting cost, and correct working practice is normally the first to suffer.

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  • discostoo  |  October 18 2012, 7:43AM

    This is yet another example of modern day companies cutting costs at the expense of their employees. Why skimp on training? That can only benefit your company. Beggars belief.

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