Health and Safety News

Occupational health and safety news and guidance

Worker lost finger in wood planing machine

A Hampshire glazing company has been fined for safety breaches after a worker lost part of a finger in a woodworking machine at its factory in Aldershot.

Norbert Pietrzkiewicz's little finger on his right hand was drawn into a cutting block rotating at 7,000 rpm as he worked on reducing the thickness of lengths of timber at the Total Installations Ltd factory on 18 February last year.

The rotating blades of the cutting block shaved down his finger resulting in it being amputated just below the first joint.

On 26 June, the company was prosecuted at Aldershot Magistrates' Court, after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found it had failed to ensure adequate safeguards were in place to prevent workers from coming in contact with dangerous parts of machinery.

The court was told that Mr. Pietrzkiewicz, of Aldershot, was using a planer-thicknesser to work on three-metre lengths of timber. The machine had been set up by an untrained operative resulting in wood shavings blocking the revolving knife block. At the time of the incident Mr. Pietrzkiewicz was sweeping shavings from the table with his hand and his glove was drawn into the rotating block.

Total Installations Ltd., of North Lane, Aldershot, pleaded guilty to two breaches of health and safety legislation (Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999). It was fined a total of £12,000 and ordered to pay £3,791.50 in costs.


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