Jaguar Land Rover prosecuted after horrific workplace accident

hseA well-known car manufacturer has been heavily fined after a court found it guilty of health and safety breaches which led to serious injuries to a worker.

A 57-year-old maintenance electrician – who has asked not to be named for personal reasons – was working for Jaguar Land Rover Limited at its Lode Lane site on 14 June 2013 when he was dragged into inadequately guarded machinery, with the company being ordered to pay over £50,000 in fines and costs after the case went to court.

On the day in question the electrician was watching a faulty piece of equipment so he could witness where the machine was faulty. As he watched he was hit by an empty container on a circulatory chain conveyer belt which was travelling through a gap in the machinery. The electrician was knocked to the ground and dragged by the conveyer belt into a restricted processing area. This led to the worker being severely crushed and suffering injuries to his lungs, broken rubs, a broken spine, a fractured right hand, and a blood clot in his heart. He was put into an induced coma in intensive care for 12 days and was then in hospital for a further 7 days. He then returned to work 17 weeks later.

The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) investigated the case and found the following:

  • That there wasn’t a safe system of work in place
  • That the company had allowed access to dangerous moving parts within the production process but had created a crush hazard with the moving conveyer belt
  • That sufficient guards were not in place to prevent workplace injuries

The HSE recommended that Jaguar Land Rover Limited be prosecuted for health and safety breaches.

The case came to the Birmingham Crown Court on 22 December 2014, with the company pleading guilty to a breach of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1999. As a result the company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £13,474 towards the prosecution’s costs.

HSE inspector commented after the sentencing: “Jaguar Land Rover has extensive safety systems in place and the Lode Lane plant had other facilities with similar processes that are guarded much more effectively. The company should have ensured the same level of protection at this location. It didn’t and as a result a man suffered horrific injuries. It is remarkable that he recovered enough to return to work within 17 weeks. The incident could very easily have ended his life.”

Marc Hadrill, a specialist personal injury solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers have an obligation under the PUWER regulations to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to the movement of any dangerous part of machinery before any person enters a ‘danger zone’. Jaguar admitted in this case that they had not take such steps and were subsequently heavily fined.”