This news article featured in issue no.19 in CHSP’s December – January 2023 newsletter


In this article you will learn of a serious accident that was caused by the unsafe use of a timber stress grading  machine.


What took place

On the 25th October 2018, an unnamed worker, was severely injured after he was drawn into rotating machinery by his ponytail.
The injuries suffered resulted in his scalp, face and one of his ears being removed and a finger injury leading to two weeks in hospital with a series of skin grafts and a finger amputation.
The accident took place in a Caspian Group Limited machine workshop in Scunthorpe which at the time was known as Caspian Access and Plant hire. The machine he was working on was an MPC Micromatic timber stress grading machine which had been purchased second hand the year prior. It was the rotating function which came in contact with the workers hair causing the accident whilst he was trying to oil the machine.



The HSE concluded on investigation there was no sufficient guarding on the machine to prevent contact with the rotating parts.
It seems that the isolation feature hadn’t been used prior to oiling the machine to prevent it from moving. The company Caspian Access and Plant had not adequately assessed the machine risks and identified suitable control measures to prevent this accident from occurring. Therefore the risk assessment was found not to be sufficient for the job.



Caspian Group Limited, of East Common Lane, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to breach-ing Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The company was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay £13,012.76 in costs at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court.


Possible Solutions

How can you do everything you can to prevent such a tragedy taking place in your business.
• Ensure all workers regardless of the level of experience they have, are given adequate training, instruc-tion and knowledge of how to use the machinery. This can be in the form of periodic risk assessment briefs, toolbox talks, training and access and reference to the operating manual for the machine.
• Risk assessments should be reviewed periodically taking into account the changing environment, up-dates in legislation and HSE guidance and previous accidents and near misses.
• Encourage health and safety initiatives such as a don’t walk by policy and near miss reporting to enable a proactive review of safety measures in place. Encouraging prizes for the best health and safety suggestions to promote a proactive health and safety culture.

  • Issuing and communicating periodic safety alerts.
  • Specify in risk assessments control measures such as tying hair back in a way so that it cannot fall to
    the front. Ensuring machines with rotating components, abrasive wheels, are guarded. Follow the hierarchy
    of machinery guarding to determine:
  • The routine use of isolating machinery including isolating a machine prior to maintenance and during
    set up and at the end of use.
  • Discouraging lone working or having routine reporting measures in place for lone working.
  • In noisy environments having adequate means for workers to communicate with each other instead
    of shouting over machinery.
  • Fixed guards should remain in place when the machine is in use, except when they need to be removed
    by authorised and competent persons for the purpose of maintenance.
  • Interlocked guards and devices such as pressure-sensitive mats and safety light curtains should be considered where fixed guards would not be practicable because they would hinder normal operation of the machine.

Next Steps

CHSP offer Introduction to Personal Safety for Lone Workers training, click on the link to access.

We also offer a retainer advice service with access to a library of toolbox talks some of which cover machine safety.

For further advice and support make your enquiries to:


Tel: 07908 174408