Hand Injury Leads to Legal Action

Hand Injury Leads to Legal Action 25879

Wood and Mott has been taken to Court by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a trainee suffered a serious hand injury while using a saw.

The accident took place at Wood and Mott's manufacturing plant in Brightlingsea, Essex, and has since led to a prosecution and fine from the HSE.

Panel Saw

Colchester Magistrates' Court was told the 17-year-old trainee was working unsupervised in the company's workshop when he decided to use a panel saw to cut a piece of MDF.

As he did this, he pushed the material down on the board with his right hand to keep it flat, but his hand was too close to the saw and was caught by the revolving blade.

The teenager suffered severe lacerations across his palm, fingers and the back of his hand and had to be rushed to hospital to ensure he did not die of blood loss.

A&E and Treatment

After arriving at A&E, the anonymous 17-year-old was told he would have to undergo surgery to replace shattered bones, before also being informed he would have to have a number of skin grafts to repair tissue.

Unfortunately for the young man, he will require further surgery to improve the mobility of his hand, as he is currently unable to properly bend his hand and fingers, which presents him with a number of difficulties on a day-to-day basis.

Poor Supervision

After being informed, the HSE launched a work accident investigation and found that on the day of the accident, many of Wood and Mott's more experienced employees were attending an exhibition.

Woodworkers who remained had not been instructed to take responsibility for the supervision of trainees and as such the teenager who was injured had no people to ask for guidance in using the saw.

After a robust investigation the HSE concluded that Wood and Mott should be prosecuted for failing to carry out a young persons' risk assessment and not putting the proper supervision in place for trainees.

Following a trial at Colchester Magistrates' Court, executives at Wood and Mott pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 19(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and were told to pay a combined £7,699 in costs and fines.

"Failures"

Speaking after the trial, HSE inspector Paul Grover said, "This young man has been left with a life-affecting injury to his right hand due to the firm's neglect of their duties to safeguard him at work. 

"Here was a young person who lacked experience of woodworking and its associated risks and had not undergone sufficient training.

"The incident was a direct consequence of Wood and Mott's failure to complete a specific assessment of the risks that a young person would encounter when carrying [out] woodworking operations at their site. 

"Had they done so, the vulnerability of the young worker, due to his immaturity, lack of training and appreciation of risk, would have been identified."

By Francesca Witney