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£10k fine for ignoring circular saw safety warning

10 December 2014

A Tameside gate manufacturer has been fined £10,000 after it ignored a formal warning about installing guards on two circular saws.

Openshaw Bespoke Timber Gates was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it continued to expose its workforce to danger by operating the saws for one month after being ordered to take them out of use at its workshop on the Greenside Trading Estate in Droylsden.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that two inspectors had spotted the unprotected saws during an unannounced visit to the site on 14 April 2014. They issued a Prohibition Notice requiring the saws not to be used until guards had been fitted.

When HSE inspectors returned to the site a month later, they found the saws still in use and no attempt had been made by the firm to fit guards.

Openshaw Bespoke Timber Gates Ltd, of Greenside Lane in Droylsden, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £729 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to comply with a Prohibition Notice.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Sarah Taylor said: "When we first visited the factory in April, we were immediately concerned by two of the saws which were not guarded and could easily have resulted in an employee losing a finger.

"We therefore issued a Prohibition Notice requiring the saws to be taken out of use but the company failed to take any action until we returned to the site one month later, despite it being a legal requirement.

"The firm has since subcontracted its wood cutting work to an outside firm so the saws are not needed. If it had done this when we first served the notice, or fitted guards to the saws, then it would have avoided having to pay a court fine.”