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Timber firm fined for safety breaches

24 Oct 18 A woodworking firm has been fined thousands of pounds for failing to maintain guards on its machinery.

Ashwell Recycled Timber Products Limited was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) following repeated failures to safely guard and maintain woodwork equipment used by its employees.

Barkingside magistrates heard how employees had been exposed to the risk of serious injury because a radial arm drill was not fitted with an effective telescopic guard or trip device, and the housing on a re-saw blade and self-return function on their cross-cut saw had not been maintained. These failures were found despite the company having received previous enforcement action from HSE on similar issues.

Ashwell Recycled Timber Products of Wick Place Farm, Bulphan, Upminster, pleaded guilty to two breaches of Regulation 5(1) and one of Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,831.75.

HSE inspector Dominic Elliss said after the case: “The company completely failed to grasp the importance of installing and maintaining basic but essential guards to prevent access to the dangerous parts of woodworking machinery.

“Companies should be aware that HSE may bring prosecutions where dutyholders continually fail to address risks in the workplace. Woodworking machinery relies on the provision and ongoing maintenance of suitable guards to prevent significant injuries occurring, and businesses should take this opportunity to review their own arrangements and ensure they are sufficiently robust.”


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