Worker Suffers Horrific Injuries In Brumley Bae Sawmill Accident

A sawmill has been fined after an employee seriously injured their arm in an accident at work.

Damian Gawlowski, a Polish 20-year-old, was using a high-speed continuous blade to cut timber at Tennants (Elgin) Limited’s sawmill in Brumley Brae on September 26th 2011.

In a hearing on November 15th, Elgin Sherriff Court heard that Mr Gawlowski’s arm was pulled into the bandsaw, which sliced it in half up to his elbow. The significant personal injuries he incurred required 16 operations to repair nerve, muscle and ligament damage. Mr Gawlowski finds it hard to use his right hand and has lost part of one finger and one thumb. He needs ongoing treatment for pain and has left with permanent scarring. It is thought he will be unable to work again for a long period of time and currently needs assistance for many daily activities.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that the chain drive and drive wheels of the machine were unguarded, the guard of the saw-blade was incorrectly positioned, and that Mr Gawlowski was inexperienced, had not received any formal training and was left to use the machine without supervision. The company had instead offered informal training from the last person who had used the machine.

Employees had not been provided with a push-stick to move timber through the machine and had not been told about the dangers of the work. This is despite the dangers of bandsaws being common knowledge within the woodworking sector.

Tennants (Elgin) Limited was fined £30,000 in the hearing after admitting to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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