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Parker Hannifin fined £1m for unplanned machine move

An “ad hoc approach” to planning hazardous work has resulted in a £1m fine for a motion and control technology manufacturer after one of its employees was fatally crushed by a machine.

Parker Hannifin fined £1m for unplanned machine move
Image credit: ©iStock/Emrah Turudu

Colin Reddish, 48, was working alone on 30 April 2015 at Parker Hannifin Manufacturing’s factory in Grantham, Lincolnshire, moving a large computer numerically controlled (CNC) milling machine. 

The machine had been placed on skates so that Reddish could use an angle grinder to cut and remove the bolts that had fixed it to the floor. As he was doing this, the machine toppled and killed him. 

The company had not properly planned the work, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found, having failed to check the machine’s centre of gravity beforehand. This resulted in an unsafe system of work. 

The employees responsible for moving the plant had not been sufficiently trained, Lincoln Magistrates’ Court was told. 

Parker Hannifin Manufacturing pleaded guilty to breaching reg 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which covers suitable and sufficient risk assessments, and s 2(1) of the Health and Safety of Work (HSW) Act. The £1m fine applies to the HSW Act breach. It must also pay full costs of £6,311.

HSE inspector Martin Giles said: “Parker Hannifin Manufacturing had already tried unsuccessfully to lift the machine using a forklift truck but instead of learning from this failure they carried on. Their ad hoc approach to managing dangerous tasks resulted in one of their workers losing his life.”


Keeley Downey was the former assistant editor of IOSH Magazine. Previously she was editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine


  • Basic stuff over-looked again

    Permalink Submitted by Steven Nagle on 21 September 2016 - 05:04 pm

    Basic stuff over-looked again by the sounds of it. Guess we really do need "all the red tape", as it is so-often called.

  • I work in the middle east

    Permalink Submitted by Stuart Mclellan on 22 September 2016 - 06:07 am

    I work in the middle east where we try hard to instill good working practices and they look up to countries with a solid HSE background like the UK. Then we read about things like this where planning and risk assessment are part of our very structure. Its disappointing that we cannot be seen as the role model for good working practices.

  • No one country should be

    Permalink Submitted by Daniel Beach on 22 September 2016 - 12:07 pm

    No one country should be looked up to in terms of setting a high standard. The UK has the HSE which enforces such things but they can't be everywhere at all times, and as with all things, these case studies aim to point out the worst case scenario and what can happen as a consequence. This is in no way representative of companies as a whole in the UK, just like anywhere else where there will be appalling examples of Health and Safety practice. Whilst your company may work hard to instill good working practices, there will be other companies who follow the example set by Parker Hannifin.

  • Having worked across the

    Permalink Submitted by Kevin Robson on 22 September 2016 - 04:30 pm

    Having worked across the World on various assignments and industries, you see this sort of incident happening all too frequently. My shock comes from the fact that I have worked for Parker Hannifin as a consultant and visited the Grantham site for seminars etc. and generally they were very strict on H&S issues including task analysis, risk assessment, lone working and all other issues as you would expect them to be. The site H&S manager and the corporate H&S director were very professional, experienced and purposeful in leading and enforcing such requirements. I will not speculate as to what went wrong here in such a catastrophic manner and can only comment that Parker Hannifin were far from being the poorest at practicing good health and safety. With regards to holding up the UK as examples of good/best practice in the Middle East and else where, I agree that this is usually the case but unfortunately a lot of expat Brits get overseas and fall into the local culture of H&S rather than maintaining UK standards. As Mr. Nagle comments, the red tape is required or rather the application of compliant standards despite the negativity of the "Elf and safety" sceptics.


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