Worker killed by lump of flying metal

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A MAINTENANCE worker at a Sheffield engineering firm died almost immediately when he was hit in the stomach by a chunk of metal which ‘shot out’ of a powerful hydraulic press, an inquest heard.

David Beety, aged 64, was testing the 750-ton machine at Doncasters Precision Forgings, on Penistone Road, when the ‘hefty’ piece 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, suffered a fractured spine and the impact also caused massive abdominal injuries.

Michael Grayson, a press operator at Doncasters, told jurors he heard a bang as the metal was fired out of the machine and Mr Beety was ‘propelled’ backwards.

Mr Grayson said he had been using the press the day before the tragedy on July 28, 2010, as the company had an order to make more than 200 valve bodies.

The process involved placing cylinders of heated aluminium into the machine, which flattened them into the required shape.

He said he made around 60, but an engineer said the machine should be checked as each valve body required four blows with the press.

He said he finished his shift and that Mr Beety, a maintenance fitter, came to look at the press at around 7am the next day.

The press could be used with the help of a computer, but Mr Beety tested it in its manual setting.

“He started to bring the press down - it makes a tone, and the next thing I knew the tone changed, which indicated it was under load,” Mr Grayson said.

“Then there was a bang and he was propelled into me.”

He told jurors he didn’t see Mr Beety place anything in the press, and that a laser system prevented anyone putting objects inside during operation.

“I thought he knew what he was doing, he was a specialist in his field,” he said.

The lump of metal looked similar to pieces used to hold pans in the furnaces, he added.

Jurors heard that a risk assessment hadn’t been filled in and that fitters now have to fill in job sheets before carrying out tasks.

Mr Beety went into cardiac arrest at the scene caused by blood loss. He was rushed to the Northern General Hospital but couldn’t be revived.

The inquest continues.