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Timber firm in court after employee’s finger amputated

Select Timber Products Ltd has been prosecuted after one of its employees lost the top of his finger in an unguarded machine.

What happened?

The 23-year-old employee had been helping to clear a blockage on one of the company’s woodworking machines when the incident happened in 2013.

The machine’s main guard had been lifted up in order to access the blockage, and another guard covering one of the machine’s cutting heads had also been removed.

Though the machine was unguarded, it was still connected to the power. So when the employee reached inside, his left hand came into contact with one of the moving cutting heads.

He had to have the top of his middle finger amputated, and also sustained serious lacerations to two other fingers, leaving his with partial movement of his hand.

What was the outcome?

Select Timber Products Ltd pleaded guilty to breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined a total of £9,900 and ordered to pay £1,193 in costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Neil Ward said:

“About 30 to 40 similar incidents are reported to HSE every year.
Nearly all result in amputation injuries and most, including
this one, could have been prevented if the cutters had
come to rest before operators approached them.

“Neither the machine operator nor the injured man had been trained
to a suitable standard by Select Timber Products. HSE
publishes free guidance for this type of machine
but that guidance was not followed.

“Workers should not have been clearing blockages with any of the
cutters turning and the fixed guard should never have
been removed from one of the heads.”

Source: View article

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