After his leg was trapped in the machine he was attempting to unblock, one sawmill worker suffered a serious work accident claim.
After the personal injury claim occurred, an investigation was launched by the Health and Safety Executive. The HSE found that the wood processing machine referred to as a drop sorter was subject to regular jamming during the course of its process. The machine is designed to turn logs of wood into even planks.
The worker had clambered onto the machine in an attempt to clear one of these frequent jams when the accident claim occurred. The man kicked repeatedly in an effort to remove the blockage. While the worker was successful, the machine’s conveyor belt had not been disengaged prior to the impromptu maintenance he had chosen to perform. As a result, the conveyor belt immediately re-started after the worker cleared the blockage.
The man’s leg was dragged into the machine as a result. He was trapped there for over an hour as emergency services worked to free him. The man suffered fractures in his leg in three separate places due to his injuries. In addition his leg suffered severe damage to several nerves as well.
The HSE prosecuted the man’s employer, Windymains Timber Ltd. The firm entered a plea of guilty to breaching Health and Safety regulations and was assessed a fine of £20,000.
One inspector for the Health and Safety Executive stated that the incident could have been completely prevented. The company could have easily carried out a risk assessment in regards to the procedure for clearing the jammed machine. If they had done so the realisation that the machine did not have adequate guarding would have been immediate, added the inspector.