Barking firm fined after worker slices through hand on unguarded saw

The saw at Kierbeck Thames.

The saw at Kierbeck Thames. - Credit: Archant

A worker needed a five-hour operation after he sliced through the tendons in his hand on an unguarded saw blade.

The unidentified man was working at Kierbeck Thames Ltd, in River Road, Barking, when the incident happened in February last year.

He had climbed onto a bench at the back of the saw (pictured) to sort out some chains but as he moved he slipped and his right hand went into the machine.

Following an operation to salvage his hand, he has been left with permanent tingling and bouts of numbness.

Kierbeck, which engineers products for the construction industry, was prosecuted yesterday (10) for safety failings after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the cutting blade could have been better guarded or improved safety measures put in place.

And it emerged that the firm had been served with a prohibition notice by the HSE just nine months before the incident when another saw was found to be inadequately guarded.

Concerns were also raised then about the standard of machinery across the site.

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Despite this warning, inspectors found little sign of improvement when they investigated the incident in February.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Kierbeck Thames Ltd, of Kierbeck Wharf, River Road, Barking, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £6,033 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE Inspector Gabriella Dimitrov commented: “It is extremely disappointing that it took a worker to sustain a serious hand injury for Kierbeck Thames Ltd to finally acknowledge its guarding failings.

“The company was well aware that an incident was inevitable unless improvements were made, and yet our enforcement action and safety advice were seemingly ignored.

“Adequate safeguards must be in place to protect employees from dangerous moving parts, and the onus is on employers to instigate improvements on a proactive basis.”