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A company that manufactures flight simulator equipment for the aviation industry found itself in court recently after contravening the Health and Safety at Work act 1974.

The firm, EDM Ltd, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of it’s employees and was fined a hefty £6000 plus court costs of £2,332 for allowing the use of unsafe machinery.

The prosecution, by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), followed two separate visits by an inspector to it’s factory in Manchester where, on both occassions, machine guards were found to be missing.

The court was told that the HSE inspector first visited the site in September 2013 after complaints from an anonymous source. Improvement notices were issued on two metal working lathes requiring guards to be fitted.

A follow up visit in June 2014 by the same inspector uncovered two more breaches. Namely that guards were missing from two different machines. This time prohibition notices were issued, preventing the use of the machines until guards were fitted.

The investigation highlighted the fact that EDM did not have a Health and Safety Management System (HSMS) in place, nor had training in the use of the guards been carried out. In addition to this it was found that supervision in the factory was poor.

The court heard that EDM had carried out a risk assessment identifying the missing guards, but had failed to take the necessary action to rectify the risk.

The HSE inspector responsible for the investigation was quoted as saying: “EDM Ltd manufactures equipment used to keep the aviation industry safe but it failed to ensure the safety of its own employees.

The improvement notices HSE issued in September 2013 should have acted as a wake-up call to improve machine guards but I found guards were still missing when I revisited the factory nine months later.

There was simply no point in the company identifying missing guards in a health and safety document if it wasn’t going to act on its findings.”