Circular Saw Injury Lands £120k Fine.jpg

Circular Saw Injury Lands £120k Fine

Angela Southall

On the 19th February 2018, Sheffield-based WK West, which trades as Westpack and supplies commercial packaging solutions and specialist technical tapes, was prosecuted and fined £120,000 after an inadequately trained employee suffered serious injury using a circular saw.

A worker, employed as a driver, was asked to work in the firm’s factory at the end of his driving shift on 3rd October 2016. The employee suffered severe injuries to his right hand as it was pulled into the blade. The supervisor set up the circular saw and demonstrated the task of pushing stacked cardboard sheets through it. No push stick or jig was used to push the cardboard through the blade. Once the demonstration was complete, the driver was left unsupervised to continue the work.

As he pushed the cardboard through the saw, the cardboard twisted and pulled his right hand into the blade. His injuries were so severe that part of the index finger and ring finger had to be amputated from his right hand, with his middle finger being damaged.

The Health and Safety Executive found that WK West had failed to provide suitable training, supervision and assessment of the risks to ensure the circular saw was used safely. The Company were found guilty of breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

This case highlights the importance of adequate training, supervision (in particular when a hazardous task is new to an employee) and risk assessment of machinery use. Looking at this accident there is a clear need to look deeper into the safety culture of the organisation. This accident could have been prevented with a better attitude to safety company-wide thereby eliminating a culture of delegating duties to staff that are neither trained or supervised adequately.

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