Pallet-making machine started without warning but accident could have been prevented

A firm must pay a £3,500 fine and £8,973 in costs after an employee's hand was nailed to a pallet in March 2008.

Hereford Magistrates’ Court ordered Pontrilas Timber Builders’ Merchants to pay the fine yesterday after the incident last year.

An employee was using an automatic wooden pallet-making machine when it started without warning. The lack of a guard on the piece of machinery meant it nailed his hand and wrist to the top of a pallet.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Luke Messenger said: “This was a horrific incident that could have been easily prevented. Automated machinery like this, where people are required to feed materials in, always runs the risk of trapping arms and hands.Guards or protective devices should be provided. The fact the machinery started unexpectedly was an added complication, but with the proper safety precautions in place, the injured party’s hands wouldn’t have been able to be pulled inside.”