Wood machinist wins £3,000 payout after severing fingers at Dagenham joinery


- Credit: Archant

A wood machinist who sliced three of his fingers on an industrial blade, needing one to be amputated, has won thousands of pounds in compensation from the firm where he was employed.

K & D Joinery, based in Chequers Lane, Dagenham, was ordered to pay £3,000 to the 39-year-old man after a preventable work accident left him without a middle finger and with his ring and index finger severely lacerated.

The firm was also told to pay a £6,000 fine and £4,500 in court costs after admitting breaching health and safety protocols on the use of work equipment at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today (May 22).

An adjustable guard that normally covers the cutting blade of a hand-fed planing machine had not been working for several months and, despite the company being made aware of the defect, had not been fixed.

The worker, who does not wish to be named, sustained his injuries as he edged a piece of timber toward the cylindrical cutting block of the machine.

Inspector Tajir Mortuza, of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which brought the prosecution, said: “The failure by K & D Joinery to ensure the cutting block was properly guarded put any worker using it at significant risk of serious injury.

“A two-knife cutter block makes about 10,000 cuts per minute and if a machinist’s fingers are in contact for only a fraction of a second, there can be serious injury.”

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K & D Joinery, which is registered at Limes Road, Kent, admitted a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 in court.

Insp Mortuza added: “The woodworking industry has one of the highest incident rates in manufacturing, most of which are caused by contact with moving machinery.

“Had the firm fulfilled its duty of care, this worker’s painful injury could have been avoided.”