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Firm is fined £13,000 after worker badly injures fingers

Chamberlain Holdings plc was also ordered to pay costs to investigating authority Luton Council of £3,710 after pleading guilty to three offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The accident happened in March 2015 at Chamberlain Holdings’ store room on the Britannia Estate, in Leagrave Road. The worker, part of the firm’s maintenance team, received a serious injury to two fingers through contact with the unguarded blade of a table saw.

The council’s Food, Safety and Environment Team, following a site visit, prohibited the use of the saw. Their subsequent investigation found that the company had not identified the risk posed by the saw and that it had not been adequately maintained to ensure it was safe to use.

The case was sentenced in January, when the judge commented on how the friendly, family nature of the firm impacted upon and aggravated the situation in that the injured party was trusted to get on with jobs in a cost-efficient way. 

In mitigation he commented on how there was now a new health and safety culture within the company who had, since the accident, hired an external consultant, provided training for staff and outsourced work of that nature.

The company was fined a total of £12,000 with costs of £3,710 awarded to the council and a surcharge of £120.  The extent of the injury means that the employee is no longer able to work as a carpenter.

Portfolio holder Cllr Rachel Hopkins  said: “Health and Safety law lays down basic standards for businesses to help keep employees safe. Safety for employees can be easily achieved by any business and should not require any great expense or effort.

“It is inexcusable to allow employees to use dangerous, unmaintained and unguarded equipment and to ignore simple principles of safety. Businesses that don’t protect the health of their employees face prosecution and fines.”

The council’s Food, Safety and Environment team carry out accident investigations and are available to provide advice and guidance to business on health and safety.  

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