THE death of a maintenance worker at a Sheffield engineering firm, who was killed when a piece of metal shot out of a hydraulic press, was caused by misadventure, an inquest found.
David Beety, aged 64, was testing the 750-ton machine at Doncasters Precision Forgings, on Penistone Road, when the chunk of black metal was forced out from between the two plates of the press.
Sheffield Coroner’s Court heard Mr Beety, of Kilvington Road, Woodthorpe, went into cardiac arrest at the scene brought on by blood loss from massive abdominal injuries.
A jury of seven men and three women took two-and-a-half hours to return a unanimous verdict of misadventure.
They found that Mr Beety responded to a maintenance call at 7am on July 28, 2010, to assess the efficiency of the press, which was being used to make valve bodies from aluminium.
Before testing the machine, Mr Beety placed the 4.9kg piece of metal on to the front edge of the bottom plate of the press - something jurors concluded he did to prevent damage to the press.
“The metal piece was then ejected from the press at speed, striking Mr Beety in the abdomen,” they said.
Press operator Michael Grayson said he heard a bang as the metal was fired out of the machine and Mr Beety was ‘propelled’ backwards into him. The pair landed in a storage bin on the floor.
Mr Grayson said an engineer had asked Mr Beety to check the machine as he thought the job was taking longer than it should have.
Another fitter, Dave Hill, told the court he knew his colleague had put something in the press, but said he didn’t realise it would be a problem.
The press was tested incorrectly 10 years ago, but no proper manual was produced afterwards showing how to pressure test it, jurors heard.
The press also had to be rebuilt following a fire in 2004.
Coroner Christopher Dorries said he was ‘inclined’ to write to Doncasters about the incorrect testing a decade ago, and passed on his condolences to Mr Beety’s family.
“I’m really terribly sorry for you all,” he said, adding Mr Beety died in ‘terrible circumstances’.