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£500k fine over smith’s death while using wrong hammer

A hot metal forging company has been fined £500,000 after a worker was fatally injured at its factory in Oughtibridge, Sheffield.

£500k fine over smith’s death while using wrong hammer
Sheffield Crown Court | ©Jonathan Thacker (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Abbey Forged Products employee Billy Fairweather, 35, was part of a group of four that had been tasked with hammering pieces of hard alloy. 

While he was working on a small piece of metal, he switched from the powered hammer he had been assigned to a larger, more powerful one. 

Sheffield Crown Court was told that he was knelt close to the hammer when the piece of hard alloy misaligned and was forcefully expelled. Fairweather fell backwards and sustained fatal injuries. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the company had not properly assessed the risks involved with using large hammers on small components. It said the job had not been assigned to the correct hammer or crew and there was no safe system of work that allowed line of sight of the hard alloy. 

Abbey Forged Products, which manufacturers components for the oil and gas industry, pleaded guilty to breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and must also pay £23,756 in costs. 



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

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