Tayside and Central Scotland

Company manager fined after worker's fingers sliced off

Alexander Mackay Image copyright Alan Richardson
Image caption Alexander Mackay was also ordered to pay the employee £10,000 compensation

A company manager whose worker tripped over a broken pallet and fell into a moving sawblade, slicing off three of his fingers, has been fined £7,500.

Alexander Mackay, 65, of Blairgowrie, was also ordered to pay former employee Michael Rice £10,000 compensation.

Mackay was told by a sheriff that a "wholly inadequate delay" in bringing the case to court meant that he would not impose a prison sentence.

Mackay had admitted a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Dundee Sheriff Court had previously heard that the incident happened in December 2011 at G&D Pallets saw room in Dundee.

The court was told surgeons were only able to reattach one of Mr Rice's fingers, leaving him permanently disfigured and impaired.

'Salutary lesson'

Mr Rice was employed as a casual worker in 2010 and given basic training and was taken on again on a casual basis in 2011 and given no refresher training.

Defence advocate Neil Beardmore said Mackay took over the running of the business after his wife became unwell.

He said: "His direct responsibility was for a matter of months and he has pled guilty to one day.

"This is a matter that should be dealt with by way of compensation and fine.

"This prosecution has had a marked impact on him. It has been a salutary lesson for him.

"He has had an unblemished work record for over 30 years."

'Management failures'

Sheriff Alastair Brown, who previously described the case as "one of the worst management failures" he had seen, told Mackay it was the proprietor's responsibility to protect employees.

He said: "The responsibility cannot be delegated or shuffled off to other employees, however experienced.

"You were on the premises every week. There was, in the state of the workshop, an obvious and material danger that should have been observed by you.

"Those who run businesses that fail to take even basic steps to protect employees expose themselves to prison."

Sheriff Brown said it was a "wholly inadequate delay" that the 2011 incident had only come before the court this year.

He said: "The delay is such, in that so much has changed, that the short prison sentence I was considering imposing would be unjust and I will step away from that."

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