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Company fined after air pipe prank goes wrong.

A company run by a Midland man has been fined pounds 5,000 after a prank went horribly wrong, leaving a worker with a perforated bowel. Mr Philip Morgan, aged 39, had to undergo emergency surgery after one of his workmates put a compressed air pipe next to his jeans and allowed 80 pounds per square inch of air pressure to shoot up his backside. His injuries were so bad he had to have a colostomy bag fitted for four months. Caerphilly Magistrates' Court heard yesterday that Mr Morgan could have suffered worse injuries, even death, after the prank. It happened at Welsh-based firm Conservatory Roof Systems, whose managing director is Mr Terry Heazelgrave from Harborne Road, Oldbury, in January last year. Dr Chantal Nicholls, representing the Health and Safety Executive, which brought the prosecution, told the court that the hoses had been incorrectly used at the firm for blowing dust off workers' clothes. "The air hoses should have only been used for blowing dust off clothing and components when fitted with a special nozzle," she said. She said the HSE had brought the prosecution because the company had failed to provide adequate supervision and had unsafe equipment. Mr Robin Harvard, for the firm, said the "horseplay" happened only when there was no supervisor on duty. "This is the first time that the company has been before the court," he said. The company, which admitted the charges, was ordered to pay a pounds 5,000 fine as well as pounds 924 costs. Mr Heazelgrave refused to comment about the court case.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 16, 1999
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