Steel worker dragged through CD-size hole

Aaron Morby 7 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

Willmott homes arm fined £1.25m over gas blunder

Court hears how residents were put at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
10 hours ago

Eggborough gas-fired power station gains consent

Work could start by summer next year at North Yorkshire site
8 hours ago

£100m Aberdeen Broadford Works village plan approved

Demolition work to start at historic former textile factory site
9 hours ago

Go-ahead for £160m Leeds Monk Bridge scheme

McAlpine is on board as preferred contractor for the project
18 hours ago

Opinion: Safety fines are getting out of control

We need more effective ways to improve safety than ever higher penalties
18 hours ago

Shake-up for £2.9bn MoD hard FM contracts

Post-Carillion bid race for MoD estate and housing regional FM contracts
1 day ago

Wates set to start on £53m Portsmouth sports centre

Contractor understood to have won contract race for new university complex
2 days ago

Lack of skilled roofers prompts Marley new launch

Easy to install roofing roll compensates for lack of skilled workers
18 hours ago

Caddick takes workforce plastic-free

Workers given aluminium drinks bottles in bid to bin single-use plastics
1 day ago

Wates wins 7th Leeds Wellington Place job

Work will start of £35m 4 Wellington Place project next month
1 day ago

Kier targets £50m disposals to cut £375m debt

Firm sets out debt reduction plan in robust year-end results
2 days ago

Betting Spy: Spurs to shrug off recent troubles

Tottenham can kick-start a win treble with Leicester and Crystal Palace
1 day ago

Keltbray concrete structures boss exits

Keltbray Structures MD Gordon Dunne on gardening leave
2 days ago

141 jobs axed as M&E specialist George Birchall fails

Larger FM business George Birchall Service avoids administration
2 days ago

Morgan Sindall bags £384m London scheme first phase

Hackney scheme includes an academy, leisure centre and six blocks of flats
2 days ago

Mace confirms £180m Olympic Park East Village deal

Firm will fine-tune its 'rising factory' method on the No6 East Village project
2 days ago

Contractor trials mixed reality headsets on school site

BIM and Microsoft HoloLens used to check M&E work
3 days ago

PM pledges extra £2bn for housing associations over 10 years

Longterm funding will be made available from 2022-2029
3 days ago

Jacobs to lead Edinburgh city centre transformation plan

Team will set out plan for historic overhaul of streets and public space
3 days ago

Costain and Galliford Try fined £2.8m after worker loses toes

Massive fine after accident at Cheshire water treatment works
3 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the new Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers will showcase their products, services and latest stories
5 months ago

Van Elle shareholders stage AGM revolt

Shareholders block board's ability to issue new shares for acquisitions
3 days ago

£100m Bristol sports arena plan at Ashton Gate stadium

Sports and convention centre will be attached to Lansdown Stand
3 days ago

Balfour Beatty raises £43m from hospital stake sale

Balfour sells 50% stake in Fife Hospital PPP
3 days ago

Kier offloads pensions unit for £3.5m

Third party pension management business administers half of all police pension
4 days ago

Willmott Dixon clinches £38m Winchester sports centre

Work to start in Spring 2019 on major leisure and sports complex
3 days ago

Architect TP Bennett reaches record turnover

Manchester office grows on back of city building boom
3 days ago

Brexit migration plan would “cripple construction”

Industry pleas ignored over need for steady flow of low-skilled site workers
4 days ago

Wates wins £16m Stockport college revamp

Work is due to start in the early new year on Wellington Road Campus
3 days ago

Balfour Beatty pioneers plastic pylons in Scotland

140 composite poles installed by new helicopter crane in just five days
4 days ago

Contractor services