Firm Fined For Wood Plane Incident

Employee Nearly Lost A Finger


A company has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 after one of its employees nearly lost a finger when his hand touched a wood plane.

An employee of Richard Burbidge Ltd, based at Whittington Road, Oswestry, Shropshire, came into contact with the rotating rear cutters of a machine used to plane wood on July 30, 2008. His middle finger was cut and the machine fractured the employee's thumb from the top of the first joint, severing both tendons.

The stair balustrades and wooden decking manufacturer pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 at Kidderminster Magistrates' Court. Richard Burbidge Ltd was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £5,842 in costs.

After an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was found that the machine took almost half a minute to stop and the cutters were partially exposed as a guard had not been fitted.

HSE inspector Grayam Barnes said: "This employee was extremely lucky not to lose a finger or a hand. Richard Burbidge Ltd should have ensured this piece of equipment, with sharp, fast-moving parts, had safety guards in place."

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I welcome the fine imposed following this serious work accident.

“Employers need to ensure work equipment has suitable and sufficient guarding to prevent workers being injured in an accident at work.

“All too often I have to help workers pursue their compensation claim following a serious work accident which could and should have been avoided.”