A timber firm has been prosecuted after a 23-year-old agency worker lost part of his finger while trying to clear a blockage from an unguarded woodworking machine.
Select Timber Products Ltd was fined £9,900 with £1,193 costs after admitting three breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Grantham Magistrates’ Court heard that the worker, who lives in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, was injured at the firm’s site in Donington in July 2013.
Magistrates heard a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation had found that the main guard on the machine had been lifted to enable the blockage to be cleared.
Another guard had also been removed to facilitate cleaning.
The court heard the worker’s left hand had come into contact with one of the machine’s moving cutting heads. Following the horrendous accident at work the top of the man’s middle finger had to be amputated.
He suffered serious cuts to two other fingers and now has only partial movement in the three affected digits.
Following the court case HSE inspector Neil Ward said up to 40 similar incidents occur in the UK each year.
He said while most result in injuries requiring a subsequent amputation, nearly all were preventable.
The inspector said the agency worker and machine operator concerned had not been trained to the necessary standard by the company.
He said while the HSE has free guidance covering the use of the machine in question it had not been followed by Select Timber Products.
Source: Lincolnshire Live