Company fined after an employee suffered serious injuries

A Durham sawmill has been fined after a worker suffered serious hand injuries after touching moving blades of a saw.

An employee of D.A.F. Timber Limited, Bishop Auckland, sustained serious injuries to the index and middle finger on their left hand after attempting to remove a blockage within the saw and coming into contact with the moving blades n 6 February 2023. This resulted in both fingers of the left hand being amputated down to the first knuckle.

The company have had a poor inspection history with the Health and Safety Executive previously issuing improvement notices for failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery and failure to maintain guards and protection devices.

An investigation by the HSE found the company had failed to ensure that suitable measures had been taken to prevent access to dangerous parts of machines.

HSE has guidance on health and safety in sawmilling and the safe use of wood working machinery.

At Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on 22 November, D.A.F. Timber Limited of Coundon Industrial Estate, Bishop Auckland pleaded guilty to of breaching Regulation 11(1) of The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1988 and were fined £26,500 and ordered to pay £3,481.45 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Clare Maltby said: “Companies must ensure that suitable measures are taken to prevent access to dangerous parts of machines.

“It is imperative that organisations risk assess machines, make certain that access is prevented to dangerous parts of machinery such as saw blades by installing suitable guards and implement safe systems of work.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. HSE news releases are available at