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Company fined for guarding failings after worker severs finger

4 September 2013

A Staffordshire furniture company has been fined after an employee severed a finger in an unguarded machine.

The 61-year-old, from Stone, was attempting to clean an edge banding machine at Incube Limited’s factory on the New Road Industrial Estate in Stafford when his left hand was caught by a rotating blade.

Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard today (4 September) that he suffered a number of injuries in the incident on 9 October 2012, including severing his little finger.

An investigation by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the interlock safety switch on the machine had been defeated, allowing access to the machine while the blade was moving. It also found the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the machine since it was introduced in 2010.

Incube Limited, of Station Court, Girton Road, Cannock, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £1,025 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing HSE inspector Wayne Owen said:

"The woodworking industry has one of the highest incident rates in manufacturing, most of which are caused by contact with moving machinery.

"HSE produces a wide range of free guidance to assist companies in carrying out risk assessments, and ensuring that woodworking equipment is safe to use and that people are properly trained. In short, what happened to this employee was easily preventable had the company appropriately considered the risks from their work processes and most fundamentally, not removed the safety device from the edge bander."

Information about risk management is available at

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.

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