Sawmill fined after worker’s arm is severely broken, Asons Solicitors Comment

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According to the HSE, a Dumfries sawmill has been fined, after a worker suffered severe injuries to his arm; when as a result of health and safety negligence, it became trapped in an incorrectly guarded piece of machinery. (1)

Scott Campbell, then aged 32, was employed by Howie Forest Products Ltd at its Kenmuir Sawmills site, in Dalbeattie, when the incident took place on 12 January 2010. (1)

Dumfries Sheriff Court, heard on the 18 October 2013, that Mr Campbell was operating a wood-stacking machine when he reached over a safety fence to fetch banding strips, to tie planks together. As he reached past, one of the machine’s arms, which handles the planks, came forward, trapping his arm against the safety fence, pinning him in position. (1)

His arm was then hit by another part of the machine, instantly breaking his elbow, and causing a broken bone to protrude through the skin. As a result of the accident, Mr Campbell required surgery to repair the fracture, consequently, he could not return to work full-time until four months later. (1)

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that a practice had developed for that particular machine, whereby pre-cut banding strips were hung through the safety fence, making them easily accessible, but putting workers at risk of getting too close to machinery. (1)

The court heard that newer stacking machines were safeguarded correctly, with light beam grids in place, which would cause the machine to cut off if an operator broke the light beam. The machine could then only be restarted by the use of a pull-cord. Bespoke safety fencing also reduced the size of the space around the machines, making it near impossible for an operator to stand behind the area covered by the light beams, and to get close to dangerous moving parts. (1)

Commenting on the accident, Thomas Fairclough, Asons Executive at Asons Solicitors stated that:

“Any health and safety compensation awarded as a result of this accident can’t undo the damage caused; this accident at work could have been easily avoided, had the correct safeguarding measures been in place to stop a person from getting too close to the machinery, in this case they weren’t”

Howie Forest Products Ltd, of East End, Earlston, Berwickshire, was fined £20,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Following the case, HSE Inspector Russell. (1) (HSE20102013)

Berry said:

“This incident was entirely preventable. If the company had adopted a consistent approach to assessing the risks of all the machines at the site, the higher standard of protection that existed on the newer machines would have prevented this incident from occurring. (1)

“Higher standards of protection on recent machines had been installed since October 2007 and at that point Howie Forest Products should have been aware that the safety measures on this stacking unit were inadequate. (1)

Asons Solicitors suggest that if someone would like to learn more about the consequences of an accident at work, or if they would like to better understand industrial diseases associated with sawmills, like vibration white finger and occupational deafness, that information is available at, or via an expert helpline on 01204 521 133.

(1)    Sawmill fined after worker’s arm trapped in machine - – HSE October 2013


About Asons Solicitors:

Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

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Email: info(at)asons(dot)

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Imran Akram
Asons Solicitors

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