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Miller Samuel Hill Brown Solicitors Blog

From time to time we will post news articles and announcements relating to the firm and to various legal issues that may be of interest to you.

Firm fined after scraper bar crushes worker

A Dumfries wood machining company has been fined after admitting serious safety failings that left a worker fighting for his life in hospital.

The 28-year-old was crushed by an automated scraper bar as he cleared debris from beneath a log haul at a sawmill in Gretna.

He suffered multiple pelvic fractures and sustained a number of serious internal injuries in the incident. He required extensive treatment and has been left permanently disfigured and impaired.

The subsequent Health and Safety Executive investigation found that the company could and should have been done more to prevent access to dangerous moving parts. In particular, it found that the company:

  • failed to provide fixed guarding enclosing the machine’s dangerous parts and interlocking guarding to stop dangerous parts moving before a worker entered the danger zones; and
  • failed to provide effective supervision in order to prevent its employees from entering danger zones while dangerous parts were moving.

It was fined £44,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulations 11(1) and 11(2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. 

Following the case, HSE Inspector Martin McMahon, described the incident as entirely preventable. He said:

“Had fixed guards been in place to physically prevent access, then employees would not have been exposed to the risk from the dangerous moving bars of the scraper system.

“As a consequence of this breach, Mr Cairns suffered horrific injuries from which he will never fully recover.”

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