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Amputation leads to fine for kennel firm

A Staffordshire kennel company has been fined after a worker amputated his finger on a circular saw.

Antony Capewell, of Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent was working at Ultra Kennels Limited at its Chesterton site when the incident happened on 11 May 2011

He was using a circular table saw to make angular cuts to lengths of timber, without the use of any jigs or support to guide the wood through. When making one of the cuts, Mr. Capewell's left hand came into contact with the rotating blade. His index finger was amputated just past the first knuckle and he suffered severe lacerations to his middle finger and thumb.

Mr. Capewell, who was 22 at the time of the incident, was signed off work for six months. He returned to work in March this year, but as a building site labourer for a different company.

A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr. Capewell was not trained in the use of woodworking equipment and had no previous experience of working on a table saw.

South Walls magistrates were told the equipment was not suitably adapted for the task it was being used for, employees had no formal training and Ultra Kennels had no system to ensure workers could demonstrate competency when using woodworking machinery.

No risk assessments had been completed to identify any hazards or control measures at the company, specifically for when using the circular saw to make angular cuts, there was no health and safety management system or  anyone responsible for managing health and safety.

Ultra Kennels Limited, of Loomer Road, Chesterton, Newcastle, Staffordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Today, South Walls Magistrates' Court fined the firm £4,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £2,500.


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