Dyson has been fined £1.2 million after one of its workers was almost killed when a machine toppled over.

Barry Miles was moving a 1.5 tonne milling machine with a colleague at the firm’s headquarters in Wiltshire when it toppled and knocked him unconscious.

The 2019 incident was a result of “serious and systemic” health and safety failures, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had said.

Dyson was ordered to pay a £1.2 million fine.

The  multinational tech company, owned by Sir James Dyson, one of Britain’s richest people, has said they “deeply regret” the incident and “accept” the court’s decision.

As well as handing down sentence, Wednesday’s ruling from District Judge Joanna Dickens found that Dyson had “no adequate policies in place regarding the in-house movement of heavy machinery and there clearly should have been”.

“This was not a localised failure but a wholesale policy failure.”

Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard last week that the two employees were using two three tonne jacks, a five tonne jack skates and blocks to move the machine at the Tetbury Hill factory in Malmesbury on August 27, 2019.

Mr Miles, who was positioned between the machine being moved and another machine, was knocked over and found lying in a gap holding his head.

He was knocked unconscious and suffered a wound to his head, as well as rib and shoulder injuries.

The employee was signed off work on full pay and has since returned.

Addressing the court on Wednesday, DJ Dickens said: “If the machine had toppled over completely, it is very likely that Mr Miles would have died or received life-changing injures.

“Mr Miles described that the incident had a long-lasting emotional effect on himself and his family. He continued to suffer physical pain and from his injuries.”

Both employees involved in the move said that they had never received training for moving machinery and that a risk assessment, method statement or lifting plan would not be prepared for this.

Dyson had argued to the court last week that there were policies in place, but they were not followed locally.

However, this was rejected by the District Judge.

She said: “The failings of the company were substantial and persisted over a relatively long period of time.

“I accept the centralised risk team were unaware this was taking place. However, they clearly should have been.”

But Dyson pointed out “extensive mitigation”, including a prompt response to concerns, immediate changes in policy and training, full co-operation with HSE, an “excellent” health and safety record and no previous health and safety convictions.

DJ Dickens also stated the firm has “an excellent reputation as an employer and as a corporate citizen”.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to discharge general health, safety and welfare duty to an employee.

Dyson, which recorded a turnover of £4.9 billion in 2021, was fined £1.2 million.

It must also pay £11,511 in costs and a £181 victim surcharge.

After the hearing, a spokesperson for Dyson said: “The health, safety and well-being of Dyson’s people is our number one priority. Prior to this case, Dyson has had no convictions, or enforcement history related to health and safety at work.

“We are thankful that the employee was not more seriously hurt and has been able to return to work at Dyson. As an engineering company, we use complex and often heavy equipment and take care to do so safely. We deeply regret that this happened and we accept the court’s decision today.

“We were pleased that in its judgement the court noted our ‘excellent safety record’, our ‘prompt response to this incident and full cooperation at the highest level within the company’ and said that Dyson is an ‘exemplary corporate citizen’.”