Workshop accident of son at Cleland family firm costs business £4K

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A worker was seriously hurt when he was struck by machinery at his family’s engineering factory in Cleland.

Andrew Forrest suffered a number of broken bones and required surgery to reconstruct his badly damaged hand.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard he is still receiving treatment three years on.

A&E Forrest, the patternmaking company his dad set up 31 years ago, was fined £4,000 this week after admitting a safety breach which led to the accident at the Ravenshill Drive premises in September 2016.

The company employs fewer than 10 people, including Forrest family members, but was described by its lawyer as the biggest in its sector in Scotland.

Catriona Dow, prosecuting, said dad of one Andrew Forrest was operating a lathe in the workshop when the accident happened.

He was struck when a rotating stockbar started spinning “out of control”. The accident happened because the bar was longer than necessary and wasn’t covered by a guard.

Mr Forrest was hit after moving closer to find out why the machinery was reverberating.

Ms Dow said he was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

She told the court: “He had fractures to his sternum, shoulder and right hand.

“The tendons, ligaments and bones in the wrist area were all damaged.

“Metal plates were inserted in his forearm and shoulder, and his right hand was reconstructed as much as possible.

“After seven days Mr Forrest was transferred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where he spent another 14 days. He had plastic surgery and skin grafts.

“His hand was strapped to his hip for two months and he couldn’t use it.

“He underwent physiotherapy twice a week for 18 months and surgery another four or five times.

“Further surgery is planned for this year.”

The prosecutor said Mr Forrest has been left with scarring and will have permanent impairment.

She added: “He goes to work as much as possible, answering the phone, working on the computer and doing light duties.

“But the accident clearly had a big impact. He was unable to do almost anything for six to eight months.

“He enjoyed sports such as jet skiing and snowboarding, but has been unable to participate in these since the accident.”

Ms Dow said that by using a longer, protruding stockbar, Mr Forrest had been able to produce more components with the machinery.

But the company’s lawyer stressed it wasn’t an attempt to “cut corners”.

She told Sheriff Marie Smart: “It was a fairly new machine and Mr Forrest was feeling his way as to what was the most efficient way to use it”

The injured man’s parents, Allan and Elizabeth, are directors of the company. Andrew Forrest, his brother and sister all work there and another four people are employed.

The firm’s lawyer said Andrew’s parents were on holiday when the accident happened.

She added: “There had never been an accident before this and its impact was felt throughout the company.

“This breach was confined to one day and could be considered an aberration.

“The machine is no longer used.”

The maximum fine for such an offence is £20,000, but Sheriff Smart said the penalty in this case “would not come anywhere near that”.

She stated: “The company has a blameless record as far as safety is concerned.

“It employs local people and is the biggest pattern maker of its kind in Scotland.

“It’s important that the penalty imposed does not threaten that.”

Sheriff Smart reduced the fine from £6,000 to £4,000 because of the company’s guilty plea at an early stage of court proceedings.