Tyrone firm fined over health and safety breach

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Martin Sludden, trading as Badoney Engineering based in Omagh, has been fined a total of £2,000 plus prosecution costs for breaching health and safety regulations which led to the serious injury of two of his employees.

The incident happened on 16 January 2012 when two operators were bending a hardened steel plate on a hydraulic press in a fabrication shed at ‘Sandvic Construction Company’, Dungannon. The plate snapped in two, hitting both employees in the face, causing serious facial injuries to both.

An investigation discovered that the lower die block, which was ‘V’ shaped, was too narrow and that the ‘former’ pressing down on the steel plate had too sharp an edge for the material being bent. This set-up caused the steel plate to fracture instead of bending.

Linda Murphy of HSENI’s Major Investigation Team said, “In this accident, the press break was incorrectly set up for the material to be bent.

“Bending hardened steel requires massive forces and it is vital to have the press-tooling set up correctly to avoid this type of incident.

“This is the second case of this type that we have seen in the last few years and it highlights the importance of having the correct equipment, as well as trained operators who can recognise potential dangers and who know how to operate the machinery safely.”