A kitchen manufacturer has improved the safety of its hand-fed woodworking machines following an accident at work.
One of Bespoke in Oak Limited’s employees had two fingers amputated when his hand got caught in the mechanism in October 2014.
Since then, the company has taken steps to ensure no one else suffers a similar injury by making and fitting a wooden guard.
Cutting block was not suitable
The worker caught his dominant right hand on a revolving cutting block. His fingers were so badly injured that surgeons had no other option but to amputate.
He was unable to work for three months after the incident and is still unable to do any heavy work.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered the cutting block provided by Bespoke in Oak Limited was not suitable for use in manual mode on a single-end toning machine, while the machine was not guarded correctly and there was access to dangerous moving parts.
The company also failed in its duty of care to adequately train the worker or supervise him sufficiently to use the woodworking machine. Neither he nor his supervisor recognised that the working method was unsafe.
Bespoke in Oak Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(1), 11(1), 9(1) and 9(2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It was fined a total of £40,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £1,896.
Speaking after the hearing at Northampton Magistrates’ Court, HSE inspector Neil Ward claimed the accident was entirely avoidable.
He said the company fell far short of a safe and reasonable standard in its duties under health and safety legislation.
Limited cutter projection tooling, which was absent in this case, is a requirement for hand-fed woodworking machines. It significantly reduces the severity of injury if a machine operator’s fingers contact the rotating tool. Such tooling has been a requirement on hand-fed machines since 2003.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: February 1, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown