Worker crushed in machinery “lucky to be alive”

One of the country’s leading manufacturers has admitted breaking health and safety laws, after a worker suffered life-threatening injuries.

Car giant Jaguar Land Rover has been ordered to pay more than £50,000 following the “horrific” incident, which happened at its Solihull factory in June 2013.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how Colin Downes, a maintenance electrician, was dragged along a conveyor belt and crushed in machinery, while working a night shift in the car plant’s paint shop.

It took emergency services 40 minutes to free the 57-year-old, who was in considerable pain and was unable to speak.

When he arrived at hospital, it emerged that he had punctured both of his lungs and broken ten ribs. He had also developed blood clots in his heart and kidneys.

In fact, the injuries were so severe that doctors had no choice but to put Mr Downes into a medically induced coma and he spent 12 days in intensive care.

A subsequent investigation found that Jaguar Land Rover had not taken steps to ensure that the machinery was properly guarded.

Mike Balysz, defending, said that the paint shop – which contained more than 26km of conveyor belts – had previously boasted an exemplary health and safety record.

But His Honour Judge Carr said that the Indian-owned car marque had nonetheless fallen far short of “safe and reasonable” standards.

“This was an entirely reasonable, foreseeable situation,” he said, summarising the case. “The breach was an ongoing failure and an accident waiting to happen.”

The judge ordered JLR to pay a £40,000 fine and an additional  £13,474  in costs.

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