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SHOPFITTING FIRM FINED FOLLOWING FINGER AMPUTATION

Training and instruction not provided despite risk assessment conclusions

Mentha and Halsall Shopfitters Ltd has been sentenced after the finger of an employee was severed whilst using a circular saw bench at its Southport factory on 15 April 2010.

Darren Mawdsley was trimming oak planks when a piece of wood caught the blade of the circular saw, pulling his index finger into the machine. He was taken to hospital and his finger was amputated at the knuckle the following day. The guard for the saw was not in place. It was resting on a table at the side of the machine. 

HSE investigators found that whilst a risk assessment had been carried out the findings had not been passed on to employees. The injured man had not been trained by the company on safe use of the saw and there were no warning signs displayed.

Good health and safety is not “about filling in forms”

Mentha and Halsall Shopfitters Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to provide adequate instructions for using the saw. It was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,498 in prosecution costs on 14 June 2011.

Speaking after the hearing, the investigating inspector at HSE, Phil Redman, said:

“These kinds of incidents are all too common in the manufacturing industry and sadly result in workers suffering life-long injuries.

Good health and safety isn’t about filling in forms. It was pointless for the company to carry out a risk assessment if they weren’t going to pass it on to their staff.

No instructions or training were provided to Mr Mawdsley on how to use the saw safely, and supervision in the workshop appeared to be minimal. If the shopfitting company had done more to protect the safety of its employees then one of them wouldn’t have lost a finger.”

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