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K & D Joinery in Dagenham could face a compensation claim after a work accident led to a workers finger being amputated in hospital.
A 39-year-old man, who was injured was employed as a wood machinist by the company when the accident happened on November 19th 2010 at the company's London factory.
Westminster Magistrates Court heard the worker was edging a rectangular piece of timber using a cutting machine, and was pushing the wood towards the saw when his middle, ring and index fingers touched the fast-moving blades.
The unnamed worker suffered severe injuries to his hand and had his middle finger amputated by doctors at the hospital he was rushed to following the accident.
After the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation and found the injured employee had not been able to move a guard that was meant to cover the cutting block - as it was defective for several months.
Inspectors told the court that K & D Joinery had failed to ensure the cutting block was effectively guarded and showed a lack of care for its workers.
The joinery firm was fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay £4,500 in costs after it admitted breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Judges also ordered the company to pay the worker £3,000 in compensation - although the man may still launch a civil claim against his employer.
HSE inspector Tajir Mortuza said: "The fact that the company was aware of the safety issues of the machine for many months before the incident, but continued to expose its employees to the risks involved in using the machine only adds gravity to the offence.
"The woodworking industry has one of the highest incident rates in manufacturing ... this worker's painful injury could have been avoided."
Any worker who sees a malfunctioning safeguard on a woodworking machine should immediately make their company aware of the situation as it is obliged to fix the problem in order to protect its employees.
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