Grantham Magistrates’ Court has fined a Lincolnshire Timber firm a total of £9,900 and ordered to pay a further £1,193 in costs after pleading guilty to three separate breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
An investigation held by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that an agency worker who was assisting in removing a blockage to a woodwork machine caught his hand on one of the machines cutting heads.
The worker suffered severe hand injuries resulting in the amputation of one finger and leaving partial movement in his other fingers.
The Court heard that two safety guards had been removed to aid cleaning. When the agency worker put his hand in the machine to clear the blockage, the machine was still running and he was injured by the unguarded blade.
After the case was heard, HSE Inspector Neil Ward said:
“About 30 to 40 similar incidents are reported to HSE every year. Nearly all result in amputation injuries and most, including this one, could have been prevented if the cutters had come to rest before operators approached them.”
“Workers should not have been clearing blockages with any of the cutters turning and the fixed guard should never have been removed from one of the heads.”