19 year old carpenter loses finger in table saw

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Teenage carpenter George Warren Heath lost one of his fingers in table saw accident and suffered severe injuries to the other two on a flip over table saw. The carpenter who was only 19, suffered injuries to three fingers with one being amputated at the middle joint, the other finger was cut through to the bone.

George Warren Heath, was working for by Sugar Construction limited as a carpenter on 7 July 2014, and was refurbishing a house the company.

He was fitting door stops to door frames and had to rip down the stops because they were to big for the frames so he decided rip down the door stops on a flip over table saw so they would be the right size so he could fit them.

Sugar Construction Limited who provided the table saw did not have the guard or riving knife fitted at the time of the accident, when Heath was ripping down the door stops his fingers came into contact with the blade causing his injuries.

An investigation by the HSE  found that the push stick, riving knife and the guard that should have been protecting the blade were missing and this contributed to his accident.

Sugar Construction had provided a guard with the saw Weymouth Magistrates’ Court heard that , the guard was not in place at the time of the accident and that protection appliances such as a push stick to push the timber so that the users fingers were no where near the blade were not available.

The saw which was a chop saw and a flip over saw was of the type that when converting it from chop saw to rip saw the guard had to be replaced and then put on again but was not replaced at the time of the accident.

The company were fined £1,500 with full costs of £1,543, after pleading guilty to a safety breach in court.

Inspector James Powell form the HSE commented:  “This incident should never have happened and other workers that had used the saw had also been at risk.

“This case emphasises the need for employers to ensure that equipment is properly maintained to ensure that dangerous parts of the machinery cannot be accessed and that a risk assessment is carried out covering all foreseeable uses and operations of the work equipment.

“Table saws should not be used unless the appropriate safety devices and protection appliances are used. Workers should be provided with the information, instruction, training and supervision as is appropriate with the tool that is being used.”