Furniture firm fined after worker loses three fingers in machinery

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A company has been forced to pay out more than £46,000 after a worker had three fingers severed by machinery which investigators say should have been covered by a protective guard.

Decorative panel manufacturing company, Laminated Products Ltd, was fined after the employee was injured when using an industrial saw.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, on March 29, 2016, an employee of Laminated Products Limited was working alongside colleagues and using a beam saw to cut sheets of MDF.

When he reached into a hole in the fixed guarding, which he believed was a viewing hole, to clear waste offcuts, his fingers became trapped under a drive chain and sprocket.

As he pulled his hand out of the machine, three fingers were then severed. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that, while suitable guarding was in place on other areas of the machine, the company had failed to identify the hazard posed by the open hole where access to the dangerous moving parts was possible.

Laminated Products Limited which is situated on Hunt Street, Whitwood Mere, was found guilty of breaching Regulation 11 (1) of The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £45,225 and ordered to pay costs of £1,612.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Louise Redgrove said: “A worker was left with permanent injuries as a result of this incident. Injuries which could have very easily been avoided, had the hole been covered with a fixed plate.”

According to the company’s website, Laminated Products Ltd was acquired by Lambson Building Products in 2005 and allowed them to move into their 80,000 sq ft factory in the town.

Among the items produced are internal doors, laminated and solid surface worktops and flat-pack and modular furniture.