A firm has been fined £30,000 for breaching health and safety legislation after an employee injured his hand, a month after he had escaped unscathed in a similar incident which was not acted upon.

Christie’s of Fochabers has been fined after an employee cut through the back of his left hand, when the saw he was operating tilted forward, at the company’s depot at Broadley, near Buckie. The worker damaging the tendons of his middle fingers and a knuckle, which required surgery. He resigned shortly after the accident, which happened in February 2018.

An HSE investigation found that the protective guard on the saw was defective, not adjusted properly, inadequately maintained and also had a broken spring.

It also uncovered that the worker has a close escape with the saw less than a month before the accident. On that occasion he managed to pull his hand back in time and only his glove was damaged.

Christie’s was fined £30,000 at Inverness Sheriff Court by Sheriff Gary Aitken. He said: “It’s as well that it did not turn out much worse, especially since there was an earlier near miss which was not acted upon.”

Christie’s admitted that between 3 January and 21 February 2018, it failed to maintain the saw and provide proper training and supervision.

Fiscal Depute Jemma Eadie said: “It is accepted that the company made a prompt admission of responsibility and has taken steps to remedy the deficiencies.”

The court was told that the saw had been taken out of service and the same work is now outsourced.

Defence agent Mark Donaldson said: “The company accepts it fell short of what was required.

“Not enough was done to monitor training, and maintenance was not as stringent as it should have been on equipment not used frequently.

“But senior management have now had more health and safety training, while repairs are highlighted as quickly as possible.

“It is a matter of extreme regret for the company that an employee was injured.”