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Neglect leads to hand injury

Buzz saw cutting through wood
14th May 2014
A personal injury claim could be made by a manual worker after the man lost a finger due to a lack of communication from his employer.

And a bid for compensation could be successful after a Southport-based shopfitting firm has been sentenced following the incident that took place because of a rotating saw.

The Lancashire firm is called Mentha and Halsall Shopfitters Ltd, with the factory in question based on Linaker Street in the north-west town.

The firm was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident in the town on 15 April 2010.

Darren Mawdsley was trimming oak planks when a piece of wood caught on the blade of the circular saw, pulling his index finger into the machine.

Tragedy struck when permanent damage was sustained upon Mr Mawdsley coming into contact with the saw – causing the hand injury.

The 37 year-old from Southport was taken to hospital and his finger was amputated at the knuckle, the following day.

North Sefton Magistrates' Court in Southport was told the guard for the saw was resting on a table at the side of the machine when the worker's finger was severed.

The HSE investigation found the company had carried out a risk assessment for the saw but this had not been passed on to its employees.

The crux of a personal injury claim case could come down to this failure of communication.

The injured worker had never been given any training by the company on using the saw, and no warning signs were present on the machine.

Mentha and Halsall Shopfitters Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The error was said to be in the company failing to provide adequate instructions for using the saw.

Mentha and Halsall was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,498 in prosecution costs on 14 June 2011.

Speaking after the hearing, the investigating inspector at HSE, Phil Redman, said:

"These kinds of incidents are all too common in the manufacturing industry and sadly result in workers suffering life-long injuries.

"Good health and safety isn't about filling in forms.

"No instructions or training were provided to Mr Mawdsley on how to use the saw safely, and supervision in the workshop appeared to be minimal.

"If the shopfitting company had done more to protect the safety of its employees then one of them wouldn't have lost a finger."

Reported by Fiona Campbell