A sawmill worker was left with a permanent impairment after his right hand was severely damaged when he caught it on an unguarded saw blade, a court has heard.
The 55-year-old from Amble, Northumberland, needed partial amputation of his middle and ring fingers following the incident at Station Sawmills in Wooperton, Alnwick on 28 June 2012.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which today (4 March) prosecuted his employers A & J Scott Ltd at Berwick Magistrates’ Court for serious safety failings.
The court heard the worker was using an industrial-size rig saw to cut logs in one of the mills when a section of wood became caught on the saw blade. He left the machine running and went to try to clear the jam when his right hand came into contact with the moving blade.
HSE found that A & J Scott Ltd had no safety guards to prevent workers getting too close to the dangerous parts of the machine, particularly the moving blades.
A & J Scott Ltd, of Station Sawmills, Wooperton, Alnwick, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £8,911.85 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Woodhall, said:
“This incident could have been easily prevented if A & J Scott Ltd had provided suitable measures to make sure workers did not come into contact with the moving blade. By failing to introduce simple precautions a worker suffered painful and lasting injuries.
“These types of injury are all too common in the woodworking sector, and the sawmill industry in particular has a major injury rate which is over two and a half times that of general manufacturing.”
More information about sawmill and woodworking safety is available here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/woodworking/sawmills.htm
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. www.hse.gov.uk
2. Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken… to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”
3. Further HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press