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Firm in Northumberland Fined After Worker Severely Damages Right Hand

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Firm in Northumberland Fined After Worker Severely Damages Right Hand

A Northumberland firm has learned the consequences of not adhering to health and safety legislation, as they were found guilty of breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The case concerned a 55 year old saw mill worker from Amble in Northumberland, who was left with a permanent impairment to his hand after it was severely damaged following an accident with an unguarded saw blade. The court heard how the worker, who was using an industrial-sized rig saw to cut logs, caught his fingers in the machinery when he tried to clear away a blockage caused by a section of wood. The safety guards that should have prevented him nearing the moving blade were missing and didn’t protect him from one of the most dangerous parts of the machine.

The accident resulted in the worker having to have a partial amputation of his middle and ring fingers.

Safety Failings

The incident, which occurred on the 28th June 2012 at Station Sawmills in Wooperton, was swiftly investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, who found sufficient evidence of serious failings to prosecute the worker’s employer, A & J Scott Ltd.

They found that the missing safety guards that should have protected the worker from the moving blades constituted a breach of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. A & J Scott Ltd pleaded guilty in court and were ordered to pay £8,911.85 in costs.

After the successful prosecution, Andrew Woodhall of the HSE expressed his concern that these types of easily avoidable injuries are too common in the woodworking and sawmill industry, where the major injury rate is almost 3 times that of general manufacturing. Mr Woodhall also stated that had A & J Scott Ltd followed health and safety law and taken simple steps to make sure workers couldn’t come into contact with the blade, this accident could have been prevented.

Although the injuries sustained on this occasion were not life threatening, they are life changing and extremely painful for the worker. If the accident had been any worse the results could have easily been disabling and even fatal.

Health and Safety Training and Risk Assessments

Had a thorough risk assessment been undertaken, the danger presented by the missing guards would have been identified and the company could have taken steps to negate the hazard.

A lack of proper guidance from management and a failure to provide adequate training for staff working dangerous jobs is one of the biggest causes of accidents of this kind. If the company had upheld an effective regime of training and culture of safety, they could have avoided the accident and the consequences.

To find out more about how to keep your business running smoothly and safely, simply contact the team at Health and Safety Training Ltd. We’ll be happy to discuss your requirements and provide tailored training that will keep your staff, visitors and clients safe.   

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