Brightlingsea: Furniture firm fined after young worker injured by saw
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2005
A furniture manufacturer has been fined after a teenage worker suffered severe hand injuries.
The trainee woodworker, 17, was employed at Brightlingsea firm Wood and Mott Ltd when the incident happened on February 19 last year.
He used a panel saw while unsupervised in the workshop to cut a sheet of MDF, and caught his right hand in the revolving blade.
The teenager needed surgery to replace shattered bone and skin grafts to repair tissue damage caused by the severe cuts to his palm, fingers and the back of his hand.
More surgery is still needed to help improve his movement.
Wood and Mott, based in Morses Lane, admitted breaching health and safety rules during a hearing at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed several senior employees were away at an exhibition on the day of the incident, and other staff had not been told to take on responsibility for supervising the trainee, who also studies woodwork part-time at college.
Magistrates fined the firm £7,000 and ordered it to pay £699 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Paul Grover said: “This young man has been left with a life-affecting injury to his right hand due to the firm’s neglect of their duties to safeguard him at work.
“Here was a young person who lacked experience of woodworking and its associated risks and had not undergone sufficient training to recognise and deal with such risks.
“The incident was a direct consequence of Wood and Mott’s failure to complete a specific assessment of the risks a young person would encounter when carrying woodworking operations at their site.
“Had they done so the vulnerability of the young worker, due to his immaturity, lack of training and appreciation of risk, would have been identified.
“This failing led in turn to another as the company then did not put in place appropriate measures, such as written instructions or safe working procedures, to control those risks.”