A horrific work accident saw a guillotine cut off a 72-year-old employee’s hand.
A timber company has been fined £5,000 for serious safety breaches.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Lancaster-based Charlesworth Tree Care and Fencing Ltd on Friday, November 1 after the accident in Middleton on June 3, 2010.
The Lancaster man had been feeding bits of wood into a diesel-powered guillotine, known as a logger, using his right hand to push wood under the blade and his left hand to run the lever, Lancaster Magistrates’ Court was told.
He then accidentally pulled down the lever before he had removed his right hand from under the blade.
It passed through the top of his hand, just below his knuckles, breaking every bone in its way and severing every tendon.
The two parts of his hand were only kept together by the skin on his palm.
Surgeons sewed his hand back together but he had part of his little finger amputated and now has has very restricted movement in his hand.
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Failed safety probe
An HSE investigation into the accident found the level of guarding on the guillotine dropped well under the minimum legal standards.
It should have been impossible to reach under the blade while operating the guillotine, the HSE said.
Charlesworth Tree Care and Fencing Ltd, fencing, tree surgery and clearance project experts, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The Kirkby Lonsdale-based firm was also ordered to pay £5,000 costs.
HSE Inspector Michael Mullen said Charlesworth’s safety precautions on this machine were nowhere near good enough.
Source: Lancashire Evening Post
Date Published: November 5, 2013
Author: David Brown