Tayside and Central Scotland

Firm fined £120,000 over worker's death

Gemini Image copyright Google
Image caption The incident took place at the Montrose site in September 2014

A company has been fined £120,000 after a worker was killed after becoming attached to a spinning pipe in a metal spraying booth.

Andy Fraser, 26, suffered multiple injuries at Gemini Corrosion Services Ltd in Montrose in September 2014, and died later in hospital.

A court was told Mr Fraser's death could have been prevented if guards had been fitted to the machine.

The firm provides specialist coating services to offshore oil companies.

Mr Fraser was operating a machine that took in lengthy metal pieces along a track before passing it across spray nozzles while the objects rotate.

Forfar Sheriff Court heard the piece being worked on had been treated beforehand giving it a surface texture "similar to coarse sandpaper".

Depute fiscal Gavin Callaghan said: "It would readily attach to fabrics such as the sweatshirt Mr Fraser was wearing under his overalls.

"It would attach in a similar way to velcro."

Emergency stop button

Mr Callaghan said a colleague passed the unit where Mr Fraser was working and realised something was wrong.

He said: "The other worker found Mr Fraser attached to a pipe being sprayed.

"He activated the emergency stop button but the pipe continued spinning.

"He went out and shouted for assistance and another colleague came and was able to turn the machine off."

The court heard that Mr Fraser was unconscious and emergency services were called.

Mr Callaghan said: "The air ambulance arrived and at that point he went into cardiac arrest.

"He responded to CPR after being given blood and was taken to Ninewells Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery, but died at 2am the following day."

HSE inspectors believe he had been attached to the spinning pipe for approximately two minutes before being found.

'Sincere condolences'

Mr Callaghan added: "No fixed or moving guarding had been fitted to prevent access to dangerous parts of the machine.

"Gemini relied on the operator remaining at the control panel away from the dangerous parts.

"If guards had been fitted the accident could have been avoided and the death would not have occurred."

Gemini Corrision Services Ltd, headquartered at Albyn Place, Aberdeen, admitted a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

The date of the offence spanned from November 1 2005 to September 17 2014.

Defence advocate Barry Smith said: "Most importantly, may I say the company formally tenders its most sincere condolences to the family of Mr Fraser.

"There was a failure to guard against obvious risks from the machinery."

Sheriff Pino di Emidio imposed a fine of £120,000 and gave the company six months to pay in full.

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