Sanctuary fined after worker loses parts of fingers

Investment plans for Forfar Sheriff Court.
Investment plans for Forfar Sheriff Court.

Mountains Animal Sanctuary Trust was fined £6,000 on Tuesday (yesterday) after pleading guilty to a health and safety offence which resulted in severe injury to a voluntary worker while using an unguarded circular saw.

The Trust pled guilty to a contravention of Sections 3(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for a continuing offence that took place between August 1, 2012 and February 20, 2013 at Milton of Ogil, Glenogil, Forfar which resulted in a volunteer losing parts of his left thumb and index finger while operating a bench saw within a shed on the Trust’s property on February 20, 2013.

The Trust had no risk assessments in place and failed to give any formal instruction or safety training to volunteers who used the bench saw. The bench saw itself was defective and was missing a top guard and a riving knife, which stops the wood from jumping.

On the day of the incident, a voluntary worker had been tasked with using the bench saw to cut up pieces of wood from an animal shelter that had recently blown down.

There were a number of nails in the wood and some of the wood was creosoted which could potentially disguise the presence of some nails. It was whilst carrying out this unsupervised work that he pressed down on a piece of wood which had jumped from the blade and brought his hand into the danger area of the rotating blade which then struck his thumb and forefinger.

Gary Aitken, Head of Crown Office’s Health and Safety Division said: “As a result of the failings of Mountains Animal Sanctuary Trust a man has suffered severe injuries.

“Hopefully today’s outcome will make it clear that organisations need to understand the implications of failing to carry out their duties as employers.

“Prosecutors will take robust action against those who ignore their health and safety responsibilities.”