Safety Bulletins

Maintenance. Always a Risk!

Operator loses his fingertip!

Background - Noggin INC554 9/11/17

A qualified machine operator (a crew foreman) and the crew mechanic were lifting off the main saw box cover completing a routine task. They were trying to find a persistent oil leak in the processor head and had been working on the 800-series machine for approximately 2 hours. The cover (weighing 15kg) slipped from the operator's left hand dropping onto his right-hand index finger.

Injury, Treatment and Investigation

The operator's finger was amputated just below the top of the finger nail. He was driven to Rotorua hospital and had surgery to remove some broken bone and to close the skin over the wound. He was released from hospital that evening. WorkSafe NZ inspected the incident site and concluded the safety and crew's training records were in good order.

Contributing Factors 

Design fault causing those completing maintenance to work in a manner that could cause injury. Unlike more recent models the 800-series machine did not have handles on its saw-box cover. Typically, screwdrivers would be used to lever off the saw-box cover (see yellow arrow), then two people would manually lift it out and off, in this case using fingertips. Woodsman has subsequently produced a handle (see green) for retro-fitting, assembly instructions, a safety bulletin and a training package.

Long work hours causing frustration and a lack of concentration.

Not wearing PPE wearing gloves may have provided more grip.

View this article in Safety Bulletin 110

Contractors are encouraged to contact :David Cox‚ Managing Director‚ Engineering Services (Rotorua) LtdTEL: +64 7 348 1286