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Personal injury: Firm fined £10,000 after worker loses arm

A Welsh company has been fined £10,000 for serious safety failings after a woodworker had his right arm severed while clearing sawdust from underneath a circular saw.

Brian Morris, 59, from Llanbadarn Fynnyd, was working at Stagecraft Display Ltd’s factory just outside Llandrindod Wells in Powys and was coming towards the end of his 11-hour shift when the incident happened on 23rd February 2012.

As he was cleaning down the saw and saw well, he stopped the machine (while the blade was still running) and knelt down on one knee to blow air into the well to clear the dust.

At the same time, a forklift truck drove into the factory and he turned his head to look – as he did so the blade caught the sleeve of his work jacket and cut his right arm.

Although he managed to pull himself free, the arm was almost wholly severed and doctors were unable to successfully reattach his arm and he underwent an amputation below the elbow.

He was unable to return to work because of his injuries and has since died from an unrelated illness.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that although the machine was fitted with an interlock that stops power to the saw when the door to the saw well is opened, the saw took more than 30 seconds to stop completely.

Llandrindod Wells Magistrates’ Court was also told that a self-employed machine maintenance engineer inspected the saw three months before the incident and told one of the company’s managers that it should be taken out of service or fitted with a brake which would stop the blade much sooner.

Stagecraft Display Ltd, of Esgair Draenllwyn, Llaithddu, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £11,865 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Damian Corbett said: “This incident was entirely preventable. Saws cause the most injuries in the woodworking industry and power-operated circular saws are dangerous machines which have caused many serious incidents.

“Unfortunately in this case the saw had not finished rotating despite the fact that Mr Morris had switched it off and he then inadvertently came into contact with the moving blade, suffering a horrific injury.”

If you have suffered an injury in an accident in the workplace that was not your fault then you could be entitled to compensation.

Contact Lloyd Green Solicitors on 0800 015 5500 for more information.