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28th January 2021
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Cabinet firm fined over worker's severed finger
A cabinet manufacturer was fined this month for safety failings after part of an employee's finger was cut off in machinery. Michael Page was using a rotating circular saw to cut a piece of wood at Richmond Cabinet Company, on the Hadfield Industrial Estate in Hadfield, Glossop, in October 2011 when it severed the top of the little finger on his left hand. High Peak Magistrates' Court heard that Mr Page, from Stalybridge, had pushed the wood through the saw by hand whereas he should have been given a push-stick or another tool to use.
The company, which manufactures cabinets for kitchens, arcade machines and fire surrounds, was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive after an investigation found that Michael Page had not received training on how to use the saw, or been given suitable equipment. There was also nobody at the factory responsible for supervising the use of the saw, despite it being operated daily.
The court was told that when an HSE inspector visited the site to investigate the incident, he found another machine had towels wrapped around the top of it to try and prevent wood dust getting into the air. Despite this, the machine was still covered in dust.
The inspector found that the exhaust ventilation system fitted above the machine to suck up the dust was not suitable as it left gaps.
Richmond Cabinet Company pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of employees. The firm was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £9,692.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Stuart Parry said:
"Sadly the loss of fingers on circular saws is all too common, but Michael Page's injuries could have been prevented if he had been given proper training and a push-stick to use.
"The company should also have done more to prevent workers breathing in wood dust, which can cause asthma and other respiratory illnesses. It should have been immediately obvious that stuffing towels around a machine wasn't a sensible way of dealing with the problem. The exhaust ventilation system was not suitable and should have been replaced."
Information on the safe use of woodworking machines is available at:
26th April 2013