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FLIP OVER SAW LACKED GUARD AND RIVING KNIFE

Young carpenter loses finger on unsafe work equipment

Sugar Construction Limited has been fined for safety failings after a worker was injured when his fingers were cut by the blade of a ‘flip over saw’. George Warren Heath, aged 19, suffered injuries to three fingers, one being amputated at the middle joint, and another was cut through to the bone.

Mr Heath, a carpenter, was part of a team refurbishing a house and he was preparing wooden door stops to be installed onto door frames. A length of door stop was too wide and required narrowing so he decided to saw a thin strip from the entire length – a process known as ‘ripping’. The saw blade was unguarded and a riving knife was not fitted. Whilst sawing the wood his fingers came into contact with the blade.

HSE found a failure to ensure that protective devices including the guard and protective appliances such as push sticks were taken to prevent access to the blade.

Weymouth Magistrates heard (29 June) that although a guard had been provided it was not in place at the time of the accident. Other protection appliances such as a push stick were not available. In order to flip the saw over from its chop saw mode to its table saw mode, the guard had to be removed, but was never replaced.

Other workers had been at risk

Sugar Construction Limited of Lyme Regis, was fined £1,500 with full costs of £1,543, after pleading guilty to one charge of breaching Regulation 11(1)(a) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Following the case, HSE Inspector James Powell said:

“This incident should never have happened and other workers that had used the saw had also been at risk.”

This case emphasises the need for employers to ensure that equipment is properly maintained to ensure that dangerous parts of the machinery cannot be accessed and that a risk assessment is carried out covering all foreseeable uses and operations of the work equipment.”

Table saws should not be used unless the appropriate safety devices and protection appliances are used. Workers should be provided with the information, instruction, training and supervision as is appropriate with the tool that is being used.”

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