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Work accident compensation: saw

Close up of a saw
14th May 2014
A work compensation claim could be made by a young employee who seriously lacerated part of his hand while working for a home construction firm.

The teenage worker suffered the severed hand while operating a vertical panel saw during the accident at work.

A court heard last week that he had received little training to instruct him on how to use the equipment properly.

Lewis Maker was 18 years-old at the time of the incident and comes from Truro in the south of Cornwall.

He was using the panel saw to cut a piece of board, and he held the board steady with his left hand.

As he operated the saw his hand got dragged into the blade and the top half of his hand was cut off, which could lead to the potential work compensation claim.

Although surgeons were able to reattach part of his hand, Mr Maker's hand has regained very little use.

Prosecuting, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told Truro Magistrates' Court that Lewis had started work just five days before the incident on 20 July 2009.

During this time he was given very little instruction on how to use the saw safely.

Based on the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the rate of reportable non-fatal injury in Construction was 1.3 per cent in 2008/09 (three-year average), statistically significantly higher than the average across all industries, at 0.85 per cent.

Severing injuries from tools however are not among the most common kinds of reported injury within xonstruction.

In 2009/10p, handling accounted for 28.9 per cent of all reported injuries to workers, slips and trips accounted for 22.3 per cent.

Frame Homes (South West) Ltd, of Jenson House, Cardrew Industrial Estate, Redruth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £13,700 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Gareth Cottle, says: "This was a devastating, life-changing injury for Lewis which could have been avoided if Frame Homes had provided adequate training.

"Woodworking machines have a serious accident history which is well known in the industry. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that workers are given sufficient information and training to work safely, as well as access to fully trained and competent supervisors.

"New workers are particularly vulnerable to workplace incidents and Lewis had every right to expect far more protection than Frame Homes afforded him."

Reported by Fiona Campbell