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Wednesday, 15 June 2011 (3015903)
Shopfitting firm fined after employee's finger severed
by Natasha Young

A SOUTHPORT-based shopfitting firm has been ordered to pay out more than £6,000, after an employee's finger was severed in a rotating saw.

Mentha and Halsall Shopfitters Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) this week, following the incident at its Linaker Street factory on April 15, 2010.

Darren Mawdsley, aged 37 from Southport, was trimming oak planks when a piece of wood caught on the blade of the circular saw, pulling his index finger into the machine. He was taken to hospital and his finger was amputated at the knuckle the following day.

North Sefton Magistrates' Court was told the guard for the saw was resting on a table at the side of the machine when the worker's finger was severed.

The HSE investigation found the company had carried out a risk assessment for the saw but this had not been passed on to its employees. The injured worker had never been given any training by the company on using the saw, and no warning signs were on the machine.

Mentha and Halsall Shopfitters Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to provide adequate instructions for using the saw.

The company was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,498 in prosecution costs June 14.

After the hearing, the investigating inspector at HSE, Phil Redman, said: “These kinds of incidents are all too common in the manufacturing industry and sadly result in workers suffering life-long injuries.

”Good health and safety isn't about filling in forms. It was pointless for the company to carry out a risk assessment if they weren’t going to pass it on to their staff.

“No instructions or training were provided to Mr Mawdsley on how to use the saw safely, and supervision in the workshop appeared to be minimal. If the shopfitting company had done more to protect the safety of its employees then one of them wouldn’t have lost a finger.”

More than 3.2 million people are employed in the manufacturing industry in Great Britain. Last year, 25 workers lost their lives and there were more than 4,000 major injuries in the sector. Details on preventing injuries are available at


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