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 severed 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 £4,000and ordered it to pay costs of £2,500.
After the hearing HSE inspector Katherine Blunt said:
“The incident was entirely preventable. HSE statistics show that around a quarter of all major incidents in the woodworking industry are caused by coming into contact with moving machinery. Unsuitable safeguards and lack of training are widely known to be responsible for high incident rates, but the company gave little consideration to keeping its employees safe.”
Free guidance on health and safety in the woodworking industry is available at www.hse.gov.uk/woodworking
Notes to Editors
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain's national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to prevent death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
- HSE information and news releases can be accessed at: www.hse.gov.uk/press
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Issued on behalf of HSE by Regional News Network Midlands