Foundry worker suffers life changing injuries

Foundry worker suffers life changing injuries 25516

A Hereford company that produces nickel alloys has been fined after an employee suffered catastrophic injuries in an industrial accident.

Worcester Crown Court heard that 37-year-old Stephen Bond-Lewis was cleaning a casting machine at Special Metals Wiggin when part of the metal frame came loose and pinned him to a nearby storage bin.

The falling masonry weighed 964 kilogrammes and had a temperature of between 100 and 250 degrees C.

After workers managed to get the man free, an effort that cost colleague Craig Sheehan, 27, the tip of one of his fingers, Mr Bond-Lewis was rushed to hospital, where consultants diagnosed him with 25 per cent burns across his body.

Most seriously affected was the man's upper torso, which later required a skin graft.

Mr Bond-Lewis also had to have part of his bowel removed after an 18 hour stint on life support that saved him from death.

However, despite a relatively positive recovery effort, the former foundryman will never be able to go back to work and now suffers from stomach disorders that mean he cannot eat certain foods and he has to take medication regularly.

The Hereford man will also miss out on the sporting activities he once cherished so dearly and said he is sad he will be unable to play football with his two young sons.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Special Metals Wiggin operated with a number of serious problems that put staff in danger.

Special Metals Wiggin was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £55,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Luke Messenger said: "The company failed to make sure there were suitable safe systems in place for removing moulds from its casting machines. 

"Yanking moulds free with the crane caused damage to bolts and their fixings and directly resulted in the collapse of the machine.

"We also found that the operators responsible for maintaining the machines had not received training and instructions in the replacement of damaged bolts."

By Chris Stevenson