Alfred Cheyne Engineering apprentice hurt by pressurised hose
An Aberdeenshire firm has been fined £10,000 after a young apprentice was injured when he was struck on the back by a pressurised hose.
The incident took place in July 2012 when the teenager was working for Alfred Cheyne Engineering Ltd, trading as ACE Winches, in Turriff.
Banff Sheriff Court heard the company was pressure-testing hose assemblies when the apprentice, then 16, was hit.
He was taken to hospital with cuts and bruises but made a full recovery.
Health and safety inspectors found the incident was caused by a section of the hose breaking free from its coupling because it had not been tightened enough.
The court was told there had been similar failures previously but testing procedures had not changed.
The court found that the company, which deals in equipment for the offshore oil and gas, marine and renewable energy industries, had also failed to provide formal training to staff carrying out the testing.
Alfred Cheyne Engineering pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.
Health and Safety Executive principal inspector Niall Miller said: "This incident could have easily been avoided if Alfred Cheyne Engineering Ltd had carried out a risk assessment for the pressure testing of hose assemblies, which would have identified the safety measures required to reduce any risks.
"The need for pressure testing to be segregated from other work and for employees not to be allowed to approach any equipment while it is under pressure is well documented in guidance, which is readily available.
"In this case the young apprentice was lucky to receive only cuts and bruises. His injuries could have been a lot worse."
In a statement after the case, ACE Winches said: "The company has accepted full responsibility for not ensuring a hose pressure-testing area at their Towie Barclay Works premises, in Aberdeenshire, was not adequately segregated from the main workshop on 25 July, 2012 and that this failure led to a member of staff being injured.
"ACE Winches deeply regrets the accident that occurred and is grateful the employee sustained minimal injuries.
"The company tendered a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity and cooperated fully with the Health and Safety Executive during its investigation of the accident."
A company spokesman added: "The safety and welfare of all ACE Winches' staff is of paramount importance and we have reinforced stringent procedures to ensure all employees can go about their duties safely.
"We can confirm that the employee returned to work after a few days' rest and remains a valued member of staff."