Factory fined after second accident at work

Published: 16/09/2011

Shaw Pallet, designers and manufacturers of pallets for industry, have been fined £7,500 following a horrifying accident in its workplace where a factory worker lost sections from two of his fingers in a wood cutting machine.

Mark Hackin, a saw operator at the Slaithwaite factory, suffered the personal injury after attempting to “tape over gaps in a chute below the machine”¹ and had to undergo a skin graft to heal his injuries.

Huddersfield magistrates heard how “the factory lacked adequate procedures for reporting and repairing faults”¹ which forced many workers to regularly risk personal injury by doing a DIY-job on the dangerous working parts of the machines when they became blocked with sawdust and other such debris.

In 2006, the factory was served with a safety improvement notice by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) when another employee was injured by a different machine.

Jacqueline Ferguson, prosecuting for the HSE in the case, said:

“This incident was entirely preventable and caused by Shaw Pallet’s failure to ensure robust systems were in place to prevent access to dangerous moving parts of the block saw.

“That failure was made worse by the fact that we had taken action for an almost identical breach before.

“The woodworking industry has one of the highest injury rates in manufacturing, most of which are caused by contact with moving machinery. This accounted for a quarter of all major injuries and one of last year’s two deaths in the sector.”¹

Mr Hackin returned to work six weeks after his workplace accident and continues to work for the company.

¹The Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Sep 2011)

Content correct at time of publication

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