Firm fined after worker has thumb ripped off

morecambe superbowl
morecambe superbowl

A bowling alley in Morecambe has been fined a total of £40,000 for health and safety breaches after a member of staff had his thumb ripped off in a live pin setting machine.

Taylors Superbowl Ltd, which operates Morecambe Superbowl on Central Drive, was handed the fine on Friday, December 12, by a judge sitting at Preston Crown Court.

The company was also ordered to pay a total of £15,760 in costs and a victim surcharge of £120.

The company had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The court heard that the first offence related to an incident in which Andrew Elliott, a technician at the Superbowl, had his thumb ripped off by a live pin setting machine on February 27, 2013.

Although surgeons managed to re-attach the thumb, Mr Elliott has been left with limited use of his thumb and hand.

During an investigation by Lancaster City Council it was discovered that the pin-machinery was unsafe due to inadequate guarding and protection.

Access to dangerous moving parts of machinery was possible and there was inadequate protection for employees.

The second offence related to a prohibition notice to prevent unsafe work practices which had been issued following the accident. The notice was breached less than a month later on March 26, 2013 when another technician was seen working on the machinery while it was running.

Coun Karen Leytham, Cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health, said: “A few simple measures could easily have prevented Mr Elliott’s accident and as a result of them not being in place, he has been left with a long term injury that has significantly lowered his quality of life.

“This is the sort of case which demonstrates just what happens if employers are complacent and fail to take seriously the safety of their workforce.

“Lancaster City Council expects that employers and managers will take every reasonable precaution to avoid serious injury to employees without waiting for accidents or visits by council officers to point out their failings.

“This case highlights the need for duty holders to effectively supervise and monitor working practices so that short-cutting does not take place and lead to imminent danger.”