Firm fined over severed thumb

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A MARKET Deeping-based timber company has been ordered to pay almost £11,000 after an employee suffered a severe hand injury while using a circular saw.

Ben Clipston, a 20-year-old production worker, had part of his left thumb severed while he was cutting insulation foam at Kestrel Timber Frame Ltd.

The incident was reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which took action against the firm in Northfield Road and brought a case to Spalding Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

The court heard how Mr Clipston was using a table-mounted circular saw when his hand was caught in the blade.

Representatives for HSE told the court it had become “standard practice” by employees to remove the guard as the height adjustment mechanism on the saw was broken.

They also claimed the table saw was not big enough to adequately support the foam being cut.

This meant Mr Clipston was forced to support the foam with his hands rather than using a push-stick.

As a result of the accident on May 11, 2010, Mr Clipston was off work for seven weeks, but has since returned to his job.

Kestrel Timber Frame Ltd, of Bourne, pleaded guilty to breaching Section (2)1 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Magistrates fined the company £6,700 and ordered full costs of £4,117 to be paid.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Emma Madeley said: “The company neglected its legal duty to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of their employees.

“The injured man’s employers failed to provide equipment which would allow the job to be done safely and, as a result, a young employee suffered serious injury in a completely preventable incident.”

The firm was unavailable for comment when contacted by the Lincolnshire Free Press.