A worker who lost three fingers as a result of an unsafe conveyor could claim substantial personal injury compensation.
Shaun Newcomb, 30, of Bourne, required extensive treatment and was unable to work for nine months as a result of the incident at Sewstern Timber Services Ltd in Gunby Road, Sewstern.
He was attempting to clear some blocked wood from the conveyor, but as he did so his right hand came into contact with the sprockets and chains that drove the rollers and he severed parts of his middle, ring and little finger.
He underwent two operations, physiotherapy, cell generation treatment and counselling, and is now employed at a different company as he did not want to return to the scene of the incident.
Lincoln Crown Court was told that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the conveyor had been supplied to Sewstern Timber Services by Armistead Engineering Ltd a few months before the incident, but that it was inadequately guarded.
The company failed to carry out a risk assessment for the machine so failed to identify the potential for harm.
Sewstern Timber Services Ltd, based at Skyliner Way, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 for failing to protect its employees. The company was fined a total of £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.
HSE inspector Berian Price said: “This incident could easily have been prevented had adequate guarding been in place.”
Mr Newcomb said: I’ve had to relearn how to do things like tie shoelaces and use a knife and I’m limited in what types of job I can do.
“The incident affected my wife, who had to take time off work to look after me, and it also affected my children. My daughter wouldn’t come near me after it happened and won’t hold my hand now. My son is a bit older so understood more, but was worried about hurting me and whether we could still play rough and tumble together.”