• Robert Spicer

Gloucestershire woodwork saw injuries: amputated fingers

Amputated fingers: £8000 fine

Health and Safety Executive v Severn Valley Woodworks Ltd (2015) Stroud magistrates’ court, August 3

Severn Valley Woodworks Ltd has been fined after a worker suffered the amputation of three fingers when using a table saw.

Significant points of the case

  • In September 2014 Egidijus Norkus, an agency worker, was using a table saw to cut tongue and groove boards for use as bird table bases.

  • He suffered the loss of three fingers.

  • The company had not trained the victim in a safe system of work for making the products. It had failed to supervise the work and had not effectively set up the saw.

The company was fined £8000 plus £1100 costs for a breach of section 3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees.

An HSE inspector was reported to have made the following comments after the case:

  • This had been an unfortunate incident which could have been avoided if the company had effectively supervised workers using dangerous machinery.

  • The woodwork industry has a high accident rate. Most accidents are caused by contact with moving machinery.

  • Employers need to ensure that machines are effectively guarded and workers are adequately trained and supervised.

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