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    CIRCULAR SAW ACCIDENT AT LAMINATE FLOOR FIRM

    Unsuitable machine caused severe injury in laminated flooring factory

    Universal Mouldings Ltd of Liverpool has been ordered to pay £12,500 in fines and prosecution costs after a young machine operator suffered severe injuries to his left hand in August 2009. 

    He had been instructed to reach under a machine guard to remove the laminate material while the large circular blade was still rotating. The injured workman now has difficulty dressing himself, and using a knife and fork.

    HSE investigation found that the machine had a 27 cm gap beneath the guard which allowed workers to reach under it. The machine operators were expected to remove the cut laminate from the blade to stop it being damaged and there had been several ‘near-misses’ in the past.

    Inevitable that someone would be injured

    HSE Inspector Jane Carroll said:

    “Workers at Universal Moulding’s factory were put at risk for more than nine years, and it was inevitable that someone would eventually suffer a serious injury.

    The machine was simply the wrong one for the job. The only way of ensuring the laminate material wasn’t damaged when the blade retracted was for workers to reach under the guard to remove it.

    The company should have realised it was putting its staff in danger every day they worked on the machine, and found another way of carrying out the work. It has now installed a more suitable machine, but only after Mr Sillitoe suffered permanent injuries to his left hand.”

    The company admitted breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery, and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by putting workers at risk.

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