• Robert Spicer

Severed Arm: Circular Saw: Health And Safety Prosecution

Health and Safety Executive v Stagecraft Display Ltd (2014) Llandrindod Wells magistrates’ court, January 21.

Stagecraft Display Ltd has been fined following an incident in which a worker had his right arm severed by a circular saw.

Significant points of the case

  • In February 2012 Brian Morris, an employee of Stagecraft, was working at the company’s factory in Powys. He had finished sawing for the day and was cleaning sawdust from below a circular saw.

  • He stopped the machine and reached into the machine as it was still running. The moving blade caught the arm of his jacket, severing his right arm.

  • Although the saw was fitted with an interlock which stopped it when it was accessed, it took more than 30 seconds for it to stop completely.

  • Three months before the incident, a machine maintenance engineer inspected the saw and told a manager that it should be taken out of service or fitted with a brake which would stop it more quickly.

The company was fined £10,000 plus £11,800 costs for a breach of section 2, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of employees.

An HSE inspector is reported to have commented after the case that saws cause the most injuries in the woodworking industry. Power-operated circular saws are dangerous machines which have caused many serious incidents.

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