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News » UK » Carpenter’s career ended for lack of saw guard » published 10/04/2012

Carpenter’s career ended for lack of saw guard

A Tower Hamlets-based building contractor has been fined after a worker's hand was severely injured by an unguarded power tool.

A prosecution by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) was brought after the incident on 14 October 2009, when the self-employed carpenter was working on the refurbishment of flats in London.

The 22-year-old, who does not wish to be named, was working at the property in Cleveland Street, Westminster, for Grand Plans (UK) Ltd. He and his brother were levelling and insulating the floors on the second storey. He had provided his own hand tools, and also used an unguarded bench saw that was available for use on site.

Marylebone Magistrates Court heard last week (4 April) that the carpenter was feeding timber through the bench saw, when the wood slipped out. He caught his hand on the saw blade, and half of his little finger and half of his ring finger on his right hand were severed.

The worker has suffered life changing injuries with irreparable damage. He has had several operations since the incident and is due to have more to repair nerve and tendon damage. The injuries mean he cannot continue with his career as a carpenter.

After the hearing the HSE inspector Danielle Coppell said: "A basic guard fitted to the bench saw, is all it would have taken to prevent these injuries which have had such a devastating effect on such a young man.

"The safety awareness from Grand Plans (UK) Ltd was clearly well below the required standard, and it was within the defendant's capacity to rectify it.

"Despite the fact that following the incident, a new saw with a guard was on site within days, this was too late and proves this was an entirely preventable incident which should have been anticipated."

Grand Plans (UK) Ltd, which is now in liquidation, was found guilty of breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998 in relation to the incident after failing to attend the court hearing. The company was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay full costs of £3,881.

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This article was published on 10/04/2012 (last updated on 10/04/2012).

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