A man was left fighting for his life after being crushed by an automated scraper bar while clearing debris at a Scottish sawmill, a court heard.
Wood machining company Hunter Wilson Ltd was fined £44,000 after admitting
serious safety failings at Dumfries Sheriff Court.
The court heard a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident – which happened at the firm’s sawmill at Rigg in Gretna, Dumfriesshire – had found that more should have been done to prevent access to dangerous moving parts on the log haul Steven Cairns had been cleaning.
The company pleaded guilty to breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The court heard that Mr Cairns, then 28, was airlifted to hospital after suffering multiple pelvic fractures and serious internal personal injuries in March 2011.
He had been clearing branches and bark from below a log haul when a moving scraper bar came from behind him, crushing his pelvis against the base of a feeder machine before dragging him through a shear point.
Extensive treatment needed
Mr Cairns, of Ecclefechan, had managed to drag himself free of the machinery before being found by colleagues who were alerted by his screams, the court heard. He had to undergo extensive surgery and has been left permanently disfigured and impaired.
The HSE told the Dumfries court that it had been one of Mr Cairns’ duties to clean the areas below two log hauls at the end of each working day.
In 2007, Hunter Wilson Ltd had installed an automated scraper system to help with the cleaning task. It included two horizontal scraper bars that moved slowly on a continuous loop along concrete platforms under each log haul, pushing off debris.
Employees suffering a personal injury after an accident at work can contact Accident Advice Helpline to find out whether they may be able to make a claim for compensation. Call us free on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone for free, no obligation advice about making a claim.
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