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Firm fined after joiner loses finger and thumb

A construction company based in Bury St Edmunds has been fined after a worker’s finger and thumb were amputated by a moulding machine.

David Head, 24, a bench joiner of Rubens Walk, Sudbury was shaping a piece of timber at the G J Bream & Son joinery workshop in Chevington, Suffolk on 10 June 2010, when it caught in the cutter and dragged his left hand into the blades.

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court heard the thumb and index finger on Mr Head’s left hand were amputated and the remaining fingers severely cut. Reconstructive plastic surgeons at Addenbrooke’s Hospital were able to reattach the thumb and finger, but Mr Head will only be able to regain half their use.

G J Bream & Son was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £4026.55 in costs after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. 

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found the company was not using the correct work holders, known as ‘jigs’, to keep workers’ hands clear of the cutting machinery.

Inspectors also found the company had not assessed the risks associated with this task properly, nor did they supervise or train staff properly for work with dangerous machinery.

HSE Inspector, Ivan Brooke, said:

“This was an horrific incident which has left a young man with permanent damage to his left hand.

“Incidents like this are entirely preventable with the right training, supervision and equipment. HSE will always look to take action against employers who break the law by failing to put these measures in place.”

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