Timber firm fined after Bourne man’s fingers severed


A timber firm has been ordered to pay £28,000 after admitting failing to protect an employee who severed three fingers in a conveyor.

Shaun Newcomb, 30, from Bourne, required extensive treatment and was unable to work for nine months after he was injured while working for Sewstern Timber Services, based in Gunby Road, Sewstern, on March 9 last year.

On Tuesday Lincoln Crown Court heard that a Health and Safety Executive investigation found the conveyor that caused Mr Newcomb’s injury had been inadequately guarded.

The machine had been supplied by Armistead Engineering Limited a few months before the incident. But Sewstern Timber Services did not carry out a risk assesment so failed to identify the potential for harm.

Mr Newcomb 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.

Sewstern Timber Services 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.

Speaking after the hearing, Health and Safety Executive inspector Berian Price said Mr Newcomb’s injuries could have been prevented had Sewstern Timber Services put adequate guarding in place.

In October York-based firm Armistead Engineering, which supplied the conveyor, pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety rules. The firm was fined £6,667 and ordered to pay costs of £5,715.