Penshaw Engineering Limited, based in the Wearside town of Washington, was fined for endangering workers by enabling them to use machinery on which crucial safety devices had been disabled. A HSE inspector had visited the site in March 2011 and found that the safety devices were disabled for around a year prior to the inspection and that the firm’s management were aware of this fact.

Sunderland Magistrates Court heard that the firm kept two computer controlled lathes in use when their interlock safety devices were not working. These protect workers from the moving parts of the machinery, but had been disabled to allow components to be polished.

The firm pled guilty to breaching s2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £10,000, with £2,000 being ordered in costs.