Shipping Services company fined after worker loses finger

A company which provides shipping services, cargo handling and storage has been fined after a worker severed part of his finger while at work.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard that on 13 July 2021 Gordon McMillan, 55 at the time of the incident, works as a ‘stevedore’ (steve-eh-door), a role which involves the dockside loading and unloading of ships and goods vehicles, was injured when operating a table saw.

In early July 2021 the company took up the lease of a building at South Quay, Montrose, near to Montrose Harbour, to store and dry grain.

Mr McMillan was tasked with cutting small pieces of wood known as ‘packers’, that needed to be replaced on the site.

Whilst using a piece of wood as a ‘push stick’ Mr McMillan’s gloved left hand came into contact with the rotating blade. Upon removing his glove Mr McMillan observed that the top of his left index finger had been almost completely severed. He later had to have part of his finger amputated.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the table saw did not have a blade guard or a guiding fence, and that no push-stick had been provided. HSE issued a Notification of Contravention to the Company, outlining the material breaches identified during the investigation.

Rix Shipping (Scotland) Limited of Meridian Street, Montrose pleaded guilty to the contravention of The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998,

Regulations 11(1) and 11(2) and were subsequently fined £16,000 with a Victim Surcharge of £1200.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Michelle Gillies said:  “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”


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 information about the legislation referred to in this case is available.
  3. Further details on the latest HSE news releases is available.