Metal tube flew off lathe and killed an Anglesey man, inquest hears


Geraint Jones

A HIGHLY-regarded Bangor University workshop manager died in hospital after he was struck in the head by a metal bar which flew into the air as he used a lathe.

A conclusion of death due to misadventure was returned by an inquest jury at Llangefni Ian Nicholls, aged 51, of Breeze Hill in Benllech.

The component was part of an assembly to mount an onboard camera on a fishing vessel.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Dave Wynne said Mr Nicholls was "exceptionally well qualified" but the lathe wasn't long enough for the piece of metal to be supported at both ends.

Unconscious Mr Nicholls was taken by ambulance from the Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences at Menai Bridge to Ysbyty Gwynedd.

He was then airlifted to a hospital at Stoke on Trent where he died on July 5.

Pathologist Dr Mark Lord said he had a fractured skull and a subdural haemorrhage, which is a blood clot between the skull and the surface of the brain.

A hole was drilled in the skull to try and relieve the pressure.

Dr Lord agreed with coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones that Mr Nicholls must have received "quite a severe blow."

Mr Pritchard-Jones said :"Mr Nicholls was a very experienced, proficient engineer."

However, on the morning his task was to polish a length of stainless steel tube which had a solid bar welded to one end with a hole drilled in it.

The coroner believed one jaw of the lathe clamp was tightened against the hole so the pressure on the object wasn’t equal.

Mr Pricthard-Jones added: “He would have assumed the piece was held securely in the chuck,” 

The croroner said that metal flew off and punched into Mr Nicholls' head.

He added: “We have lost a very clever man.”

After the hearing family members declined to comment


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