Injured Worker Discusses Long-Term Impact Of Losing Fingers

Timber Services Company Fined £18,000 For Safety Failings

09.12.2013

A 30-year-old man who lost three of his fingers in a workplace accident has explained how the incident has had a long-term impact on his family life.

Shaun Newcomb was unable to work for nine months after he trapped his hand in an unguarded roller conveyor.

The accident happened in March 2012, but he is still coming to terms with the loss of three fingers.
"After it happened I felt agitated and kept losing my temper easily, which was out of character for me," he commented.

"I went through a stage where I didn't want anyone to see my hand."

Mr Newcomb added that his wife was forced to take time off work to look after him as he recovered from the injury and the incident has also affected his children.

He said his young daughter will not hold his hand and his son is also worried about hurting his father when they "play rough and tumble together".

Mr Newcomb - who is from Bourne in Lincolnshire - finds it hard to complete basic tasks and is unable to work out in the cold. He has had to relearn how to tie his shoelaces and use a knife.

The accident happened as the worker attempted to clear some blocked wood from the conveyor. As he did so, his hand came into contact with the sprockets and chains that drove the rollers.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Sewstern Timber Services - which is based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - had failed to assess the risks of using this machinery.

The firm was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs after admitting to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974.

Following the hearing at Lincoln Crown Court, HSE inspector Berian Price said the painful, life-changing injuries sustained by Mr Newcomb could have been easily avoided had the business identified the hazards involved in using this piece of equipment.