Worker sustains horrific injuries following sawmill incident

Worker sustains horrific injuries following sawmill incident 25689

A Dumfries-based sawmill has been fined after a worker suffered severe arm injuries when it became trapped in a poorly guarded machine.

Scott Campbell, aged 32 at the time of the incident, was working for Howie Forest Products at its Kenmuir Sawmills site in Dalbeattie when the accident took place on January 12th 2010.

Mr Campbell was stacking wood on a machine when he reached over the top of a safety fence to pick up banding strips to tie some planks together. But as he did this, one of the machine's components pinned his right arm inside of the fence and trapped it.

The man's arm was then hit by the base block of the machine arm, snapping his elbow and leaving a bone protruding from the skin. Upon arriving at hospital the sawmill-worker was put straight into surgery and the fracture did not repair until four months later.

Mr Campbell has returned to work but he is not expected to recover the full range of movement he once had in the limb and this will have a significant impact on his quality of life.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) looked into the causes of the accident and found Howie Forest failed to assess the risks to employees of improper equipment guarding.

Inspectors also criticised the placement of banding strips, which forced workers to put their arms in dangerous areas - as was the case with Mr Campbell.

For these guideline breaches, Howie Forest Products was fined £20,000 after it pleaded guilty to not following Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the prosecution, HSE inspector Russell Berry commented: "This incident was entirely preventable. 

"If the company had adopted a consistent approach to assessing the risks of all the machines at the site, the higher standard of protection that existed on the newer machines would have prevented this work accident injury from occurring.

"Howie Forest Products should have been aware that the safety measures on this stacking unit were inadequate."

By Francesca Witney