Physio's finger mangled in machine

A TRAINEE physiotherapist suffered “severe” injuries to his hand on a machine's moving blade after an Essex timber company failed to meet health and safety regulations.

James Hore

A TRAINEE physiotherapist suffered “severe” injuries to his hand on a machine's moving blade after an Essex timber company failed to meet health and safety regulations.

Pawel Grajek 's index finger was amputated and his hand was badly damaged when he touched the blade as he tried to clear a blockage in a machine.

The company, Anglian Timber Ltd, has been fined �5,000 after it admitted the breach.


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Mr Grajek, who was training to become a physiotherapist, was working at the company's head office at the Saw Mill in Wix, near Harwich, when the accident happened.

The Polish man was producing timber fence rails on a woodworking machine and thought the extraction system was blocked.

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He opened the lid, which was not secured and interlocked, but as he checked the extraction pipes his hand made contact with the cutters resulting in severe injuries, it was claimed.

Representatives from the company appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court and admitted one charge of failing to take effective measures to prevent access to the cutters on an Arris Rail Ending machine.

As well as the fine, the company was ordered to pay more than �19,000 costs on Friday after the breach of regulations under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998.

Health and Safety Inspector Martin Kneebone said the incident, in May 2007, highlighted how companies needed to ensure they took suitable preventative measures.

He said: “It is essential that companies ensure the guarding systems on any rotating machinery are effective to prevent access to dangerous parts.

“It is foreseeable that a production operative will try and clear a blockage in any machine particularly if it occurs on a regular basis. Where such access is required the guard should be interlocked with the machine to ensure the machinery is stopped before entry can be gained.”

No-one from Anglian Timber Ltd was available for comment.

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