Firm fined after worker suffers serious injuries

A woodworking company has been fined after a worker became entangled in an unguarded drive shaft and suffered serious injuries.

A worker was working on an automated wood planer machine which is used to process large pieces of wood into different sizes ordered by customers at the company’s Wellington Street sawmills in Bradford, Leeds Magistrates’ Court was told. The incident happened on 8 March 2018.

The worker reached over an unguarded rotating driveshaft to adjust a piece of wood after it had come out of the machine, his hi-vis jacket and t-shirt became entangled, drawing him into the machine. He sustained a torn tendon in his left fourth finger, a broken left wrist, a break to his little finger and nerve damage to his left arm.

The HSE’s investigation found that the company failed to appropriately assess the risk posed by the machine following the installation of a new conveyor line.

Peter Ramsey & Sons (Denholme) Timber Ltd Wellington Street sawmills Bradford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £56,000 and ordered to pay £3,484.84 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Darian Dundas commented: “The company should have produced a detailed risk assessment when the conveyor was added to the existing machine. This could have identified that there was an unguarded rotating drive shaft which required guarding to prevent access.

“This injury could have been easily prevented, and the risk should have been identified.”