Steel worker dragged through CD-size hole

Aaron Morby 8 years ago
Share

A steel worker sustained horrific injuries but miraculously escaped with his life after being dragged through a gap no wider than a CD case.

hse logo

Matthew Lowe, 23, was working for Barnsley structural steel fabricator  Compass Engineering as a plate welder when his overalls got caught on a high-powered conveyor system for moving heavy steel beams.

Barnsley Magistrates’ Court heard that  Lowe’s clothing snagged on the machine and he was forced though an opening just 125mm high on the machine head, suffering horrific injuries that have caused lasting physical and psychological damage.

Lowe suffered a ruptured stomach and bowel, broke his back in two places, shattered his pelvis, and fractured both hips, his right arm and several ribs.

The HSE investigation into the incident on 19 December 2008 found there was no guarding in place to protect the worker  – a serious safety failing for both his employer and the machine supplier, Kaltenbach.

The court was told that both parties were responsible for ensuring sufficient guarding was in place. The machine ultimately belonged to Compass Engineering after it was bought from new, but Kaltenbach installed and signed-off the equipment as being fit and ready for use.

Both Compass Engineering and Kaltenbach pleaded guilty to safety breaches and magistrates have remitted the case to Sheffield Crown Court for sentencing.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Chris Chambers said:  “It almost defies belief that Mr Lowe’s body could contort in such a way to fit through the opening it did, and it’s even more astonishing that he survived to tell the tale.

“Compass Engineering had at least had the good grace to stand by Lowe and provide continued support, but both they and Kaltenbach ultimately failed to protect the young worker when it mattered most.”

After the case, Lowe said:  “What matters most is that the industry learns from my experience. My life has changed forever and no matter how well I recover from my physical injuries I will still have the psychological impact of the accident hanging over me.

“I hope my case highlights the dangers posed by not following health and safety regulations. It still won’t be able to put my life back to how it was before the accident but at least then it might prevent others from suffering in the future.

“If hearing my story makes them think twice about safety and about the daily risks they face in the work place, then I’ll be happy. Eliminating risk is now a big part of my life as I train to become a site supervisor.”

Latest news

More contractors suspended from Prompt Payment Code

Galliford Try, Ferrovial and Alun Griffiths among firms not paying on time
2 hours ago

Lendlease names new London construction chief

Claire Pettett has over 11 years experience at Lendlease mostly on the finance side
3 hours ago

Construction restructure costs Galliford Try £10m

Average group net debt rises to £187m after year of writedowns
7 hours ago

Six climate activists arrested at concrete plant

Police chief warns construction companies they will be targeted during week of action
8 hours ago

Civils and concrete specialist OHOB delivers £27m profit

O’Halloran & O’Brien builds revenue to £300m after expanding from south east base into the Midlands
8 hours ago

Worker killed on Asda extension site

Victim "hit by digger bucket" in site tragedy
17 hours ago

Leeds Merrion Centre 17 storey office block approved

New office block in shopping centre will cost over £50m to build
7 hours ago

£17m Blackpool hotel project out to bid

Muse invited bids for Talbot Gateway scheme Holiday Inn
9 hours ago

Countryside wins £400m London Camden Lock estate rebuilds

Work could start on 700-home estate rebuild late next year
1 day ago

Contractor fined for ignoring site welfare order

Manchester firm failed to provide decent facilities for workers
9 hours ago

Murphy suffers £5.8m loss

Revenue up 4.4% to £781m driven by transport and power projects
1 day ago

London Mayor uproots Tulip Tower plan

Sadiq Khan blocks 305m skyscraper plan despite city planners' approval
2 days ago

Third Van Elle board director exits

John Foster, group commercial director, departs six months after joining piling specialist
1 day ago

Hunt starts for partner to deliver £1.5bn Wales schools plan

Welsh Government is looking for partner for new public private schools delivery model
1 day ago

HS2 unveils plans for “people mover” on new viaduct

2.3km route will transport people to Birmingham Airport
1 day ago

Manager merry-go-round causing mayhem for contractors

Construction bosses walk-in to new jobs no matter how poor their track record is
1 day ago

Contractor hunt starts for new £1.7bn Stonehenge route

Highways England hopes to attract bids from "some of the world’s best construction companies"
2 days ago

29 arrests in immigration raid on BAM King’s Cross site

Illegal Albanian, Indian and Lithuanian workers detained during swoop on flagship London job
2 days ago

Call to delay VAT changes as chaos looms for contractors

Industry leaders demand six month delay to October deadline as contractors unaware of tax changes
3 days ago

Hull contractor C Spencer back in profit

Specialist records £1.8m profit after revenue cut to £54m in year of consolidation
2 days ago

ISG wins £23m Cardiff Uni science building

Six-storey maths and computer block will be built on the Cathays campus
2 days ago

Local civils firm lands £17m London Airport job

East London civils contractor Kilnbridge wins biggest contract this year
5 days ago

Tolent starts £34m Leeds rental flats job

12-storey block is being built for Grainger as part of the Holbeck Urban Village
2 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

Site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
1 year ago

Foundations specialist Aspin goes into administration

All staff sent home as ground engineering firm goes under
6 days ago

HPL cladding to be stripped from Oxford tower block

Housing associations and councils are now planning to remove HPL cladding following new Government guidance
5 days ago

HS2 forced to rebid £435m Curzon Street station

Poor interest from contractors forces risk transfer rethink
6 days ago

Mott MacDonald names new UK and Europe chief

Cathy Travers will be in charge of 7,500 staff generating £824m revenue
5 days ago

Galliford Try Infrastructure chief exits

Nick Salt leaves as construction chief Bill Hocking takes over infrastructure
5 days ago

Interserve appoints Alan Lovell as new chairman

Industry veteran pledges to help "continue delivering Interserve’s transformation"
5 days ago

Contractor services