The British Drilling Association (BDA) is the UK's trade association for the ground drilling industry.

Driller Loses Fingers in Unguarded Rig

8th December 2015

Driller Loses Fingers in Unguarded Rig

A quarry company has been fined after an employee lost two fingers after coming into contact with a drill fitted to a hydraulic excavator at a dimension stone quarry.

The employee was directing the drilling operation while a colleague operated the controls in the excavator, when the employee's glove became entangled around the rotating drill causing the amputation.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive into the incident, which occurred on 16 January 2014 at Lingberry Quarry near Staindrop, found that the preventative measures taken by the company to control the risks were not adequate (or not suitable).

Peterlee Magistrates' Court heard that that a guard had not been fitted to the drill which could have prevented the accident. The only control in place was a single trip wire fitted to one side of the drill mast. As the employee was being twisted against the opposite side of the mast to the trip wire, he was unable to activate the trip wire. It was a number of seconds before the excavator operator became aware of the situation and stopped the drill.

Robert Thomas Charlton(trading as Border Stone Quarries) of Kirkholmdale, Lanty's Lonnen, Haltwhistle, pleaded guilty to a charge under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998 for failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of equipment. He was fined £7,200 and ordered to pay costs of £27,000.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Specialist Quarries Inspector, Mike Tetley said "This is an accident that could have been easily prevented. The expected guarding standard for this type of machine working in this environment would be an interlocked guard as access to the drill was frequently required. There are established legal requirements relating to machinery guarding and these are complimented by HSE and industry specific guidance. Entanglement in the rotating parts of drilling rigs has caused fatalities and serious injuries including amputations as in this case. These are known risks and need to be appropriately controlled by companies operating this type of equipment."

 For more information on the prevention of entanglement in the rotary parts of drilling and piling rigs visit:


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