Pirelli tyres has been fined almost £520,000 after two workers were pulled into inadequately guarded machinery and suffered horrific arm injuries.

The first accident happened at the Carlisle factory in 2013, and left worker Paul Irons with an arm injury so serious that he said it had ruined his life.

An almost identical accident on the same machine injured another worker in 2015. He also suffered a badly broken arm.

At Carlisle’s Rickergate Magistrates’ Court, Pirelli Tyres chairman and chief executive, Dominic Sandivasci, sat silently as a QC representing the firm formally admitted two allegations of it failing to discharge its health and safety duty to an employee.

Peter Hayes, prosecuting for the Health & Safety Executive, said it was accepted the offences were not part of a “systematic failure” by Pirelli to ensure the health and safety of its 1,000 or so Carlisle employees.

He described how both accidents involved a “strip-line machine”, which is involved in building the fabric structure of tyres. The machinery includes a rapidly revolving bobbin, which feeds fabric onto a reel.

In the 2013 accident, at the firm’s Dalston Road factory in Carlisle, the machine’s operator Mr Irons had noticed that the bobbin had not properly engaged and tried to push the fabric into the proper position.

But his arm was pulled into the mechanism, and broken in two places. “There were no guards or protective devices to prevent him from doing that,” said Mr Hayes. “He had to have pins inserted into his arm and he is now registered as 24 per cent disabled.”

Pirelli managers did improve the machine, adding a feature that would prevent a worker getting near to the moving part involved in the first accident.

The second accident, involving the same machine, happened on August 31, 2015.

Though not trained to use the machine, Karl Davidson was asked to help the operator. As in the previous accident, he tried to manually adjust part of the machine that was not properly engaged and his arm was also pulled into the mechanism.

“His arm was broken in two places, so he suffered an almost identical injury and had to have pins inserted in his arm,” said Mr Hayes.

The company reported itself to the HSE but it did not begin an active investigation until December 2016. Any machine with such rapidly moving parts should have guards to prevent access, said the lawyer.

Outlining the impact on the two workers, Mr Hayes said both needed three months off work.

Mr Davidson has been warned he may develop arthritis, and that he may also need another operation.

In his statement, Mr Irons said: “I spent five years in the Army and 16 years on building sites and other manual jobs.

“I’ve been employed by Pirelli for the past four-and-a-half years. In the first three weeks, I had the accident, which ruined my and my family’s life and changed it.”

Richard Matthews QC, for Pirelli, said the presence in court of Mr Sandivasci, and the industrial director Mario Apollonio underlined how seriously the matter was being taken.

“The company deeply regrets the injuries to these two employees,” he said. “Both are thankfully back at work and both are valued employees.”

The QC gave a detailed explanation of how seriously Pirelli treated health and safety, training 125 of its production staff in this and appointing health and safety champions. In 2013, it engaged an independent consultant to help it improve health and safety.

Mr Matthews said: “This company had in place good and improving systems for managing health and safety.”

District Judge Gerald Chalk imposed a £500,000 fine for the 2015 offence; a £12,000 fine for the earlier offence; and costs of £5,820.

The firm must also pay a £170 victim surcharge.

A Pirelli spokesman said: “Pirelli Tyres Limited is fully committed to the health and safety of all our employees, customers and visitors. We strive for excellence in safety within our workplace. We stress our regret over the occurrence of these past incidents and have complied with all recommendations from the HSE to alleviate such risks from our sites.

“Further, we have fully co-operated with the HSE throughout its investigation and subsequent proceedings. We continue to build on our strong safety culture and remain focused on maintaining a safe place of work through accident prevention and all other areas of health and safety.”