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Fine for manufacturer after accident at work

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A company that manufactures air conditioning units has received a fine following an employee’s fingertip being cut off at their premises in Stoke on Trent.

HSE have prosecuted Eaton Williams Ltd t/a Colman Moducel as a result of the accident which happened at premises in the business park on Birrell Street in Fenton. Fenton Magistrates were told that the worker who has requested anonymity was using a circular saw to trim the metal elements of a louvered screen when he inadvertently touched the saw blade. The tip of the middle finger of his right hand was cut off and although surgeons were able to repair the finger and he has been able to return to work, the man has considerable scarring.

A HSE investigation revealed that the saw’s operating system was unsafe, the upper guard was in the wrong place and other protection apparatus such as push sticks and jigs were not utilised. Investigators also discovered that employees hadn’t received adequate instruction, information, supervision or training regarding how to operate the saw.
The court also heard that various operational problems had been found on the machine, the braking system was ineffective meant that the blade carried on spinning for too long and the emergency stop switch did not work.

Eaton Williams Ltd was fined £10K and received a cost order for more than £4K after pleading guilty to H&S legislation regarding equipment.
A HSE spokesperson commented that the accident wouldn’t have happened if the company had taken time to fully evaluate the risks of operating a circular saw.
A risk assessment had been carried out but it didn’t include all the procedures that its workers carry out. An additional assessment of the other tasks would have shown the requirement of further protection than was afforded by the upper guard.

It is the company’s responsibility to ensure that all the integral safety features such as the emergency stops are working correctly at all times.