The manager of a pallet company faces jail time after “one of the worst management failures” ever seen by a court.
Alexander Mackay is manager of the G&D Pallets sawroom in Dundee. His lack of consideration for the health and safety of his workers was the potential cause of an accident that resulted in a worker losing three fingers.
Sheriff Alastair Brown described the state of the premises as “appalling” during a session at Dundee Sheriff Court.
Michael Rice was working in the company’s warehouse when he tripped over a pallet and fell onto a saw, slicing off three fingers. Surgeons could only reattach one finger, leaving Mr Rice permanently impaired.
The accident at work took place while Mr Rice was sawing wood, Depute Fiscal Shona McJannett told the court.
Mr Rice had been employed by the company as a casual worker and given “basic training”. He returned a year later on a casual basis but was given no refresher training.
The prosecutor said: “At the time the premises were very busy and they were struggling for space in the sawroom. There were pallets partially blocking one door, completely blocking the second door and stacked up throughout the room and around the saw.”
Emergency stop button failed
Mr Rice, who was working alone at the time, tripped over a broken pallet lying near the saw bench.
As he fell, he held out his hands to stop the fall. His right hand came into contact with the running blade of the saw.
It was found that an emergency stop button didn’t work.
Mr Mackay, of Blairgowrie, admitted a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act committed in December 2011.
Sheriff Alastair Brown said: “This is one of the worst management failures I’ve ever seen. The workplace was in an appalling state and resulted in significant injury to someone who was vulnerable.
“That being so there is a very serious possibility of a prison sentence being imposed.”