Skip to content

UK HSE: employee scalped when hair trapped in a pillar drill

What happened

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has fined a company after an employee received scalping injuries when her hair became entangled in a pillar drill. Press release here.

An employee got her hair caught in a rotating pillar drill and as a result suffered life changing injuries when her scalp and part of her ear were torn off.

What went wrong?

Investigation revealed that:

  • The rotating parts of the drill were not guarded in accordance with standard industry practice;
  • The company’s own risk assessment for using the drill had identified a guard should be fitted, but evidence obtained indicated the drill had been operated without one for a number of years.

IMCA members have reported a number of incidents where employees have suffered injuries from pillar drills or from other rotating machinery.  This is an area where a fresh focus may be productive in improving safety.

Please see the following:

Safety Event

Published: 22 September 2021
Download: IMCA SF 26/21

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.