HSE Warns Of Bandsaw Risks Following Horrific Accident

Sawmill Fined £30,000 After Employee Suffers Horrendous Arm Injury


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned companies to ensure their machines have adequate guards, after a man suffered life-changing injuries.

Damian Gawlowski was operating a piece of equipment used to cut lengths of timber at a sawmill in Scotland when his arm was dragged into the saw.

The 20-year-old's limb was cut in half lengthways up to the elbow and he required 16 operations to put it right.

Even after extensive surgery, Mr Gawlowski has lost one finger entirely, part of another digit and struggles to use his right hand.

He requires constant pain relief and is unlikely to return to work for a long time.

Tennants (Elgin) Limited was fined £30,000 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE principal inspector Niall Miller said the accident was wholly preventable and the worker was let down by the company, which failed to provide proper training and adequately assess the risks involved.

Mr Miller was particularly concerned about the lack of guards on the saw.

"The risks of bandsaws - where there are fast moving cutting parts - are well known in the sawmill industry and Tennants (Elgin) Limited should have put in place suitable measures to prevent this type of injury from occurring," he remarked.

"Instead Mr Gawlowski has been left with a serious injury from which it's likely he will never completely recover."

The HSE has clear guidelines in place for the use of bandsaws and other cutting equipment.

Despite recent improvements in health and safety performance, the regulator insists that major injury rates in sawmilling are still more than two and a half times higher than the general manufacturing industry average.

Latest HSE figures suggest that machine-related accidents account for around a dozen occupational fatalities a year in the UK, as well as 40,000 injuries.
British companies would save 250,000 working days each year if they ensured their equipment has the necessary guards.

Our personal injury solicitors in Scotland specialise in a number of serious injury and illness claims, if you or a loved one have been affected call us on 0808 250 7641 for a free initial consultation.

Our serious injury solicitors could help you claim compensation if you have suffered an injury at work that resulted in the amputation of a limb. See our Amputation Claims page or Workplace Accident Claims page for more information.