Carpenters hand severed after chop saw’s guard was propped up

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Firm fined after carpenter nearly loses hand after chop saw had guard not correctly configured which led to worker newly losing hand

The court at Lewes Magistrates’ heard that, on the 9 January 2019, a worker installing skirting board in a new build house was using a powered mitre saw to cut material to length as instructed to do so by his employer.

The chop saw guard of the saw had been propped up probably because the saw was faulty, meaning the full front of the sawblade was exposed at all times.

During the works, the mitre saw fell forward on to a worker’s right-hand causing part of their hand to be severed. This was re-attached in surgery, although he has not regained full use of it.

An HSE investigation  found that there was a systematic failure to ensure the mitre saw was properly guarded, and there was insufficient supervision on site.

Borrowdale Construction Homes Limited of Wickford, Essex pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £21,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,567.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Leah Sullivan said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply ensuring that the correct control measures were in place and that safe working practices were being followed.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”