A man lost two of his fingers after his hand was crushed in a veneer press at a Dundee-based company.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard that James Doig had the two middle fingers of his right hand amputated after they were injured during an incident at Lam-Art Ltd.
Sheriff George Way fined Lam-Art £5,000.
Mr Doig has been employed for 20 years by the firm as a joiner, and operates an Orma veneer press when regular operators are on annual leave.
Fiscal depute Emma Stewart said Mr Doig was given training in the operation of the machine in 1997 when it was installed but he was not regularly responsible for switching it on.
On December 22, 2014, Mr Doig and Alan Lundie, a health and safety official, attended work to cover an order.
Mr Lundie’s role was mostly office-based and he had not been given training in switching the machine on.
The fiscal said Mr Doig arrived at about 7.45am, 15 minutes early for his shift, and Mr Lundie was opening up the offices and workshop.
The fiscal added: “Mr Lundie was aware that the platens required time to heat up to working temperature and decided to switch on the Orma veneer press.
“Under normal circumstances this would have been done by Brian Melville but since he was on leave, Mr Lundie started the machine rather than waiting for Mr Doig and his colleague to start work at 8am.”
He operated the machine and closed the platens until they were 4cm or 5cm apart, mistakenly thinking they would heat faster in a closed position.
When the machine did not appear to be heating up, he asked for the assistance of Mr Doig.
The fiscal continued: “After feeling the pipes, which were still cold, Mr Doig placed his right hand on the lower platen to check for signs of heat. At the same moment and without any warning, Mr Lundie operated the controls to close the platens.
“Due to the small gaps between the platens, they closed too quickly for Mr Doig to react and remove his hand. All four of his fingers were trapped between the platens.”
He went to hospital and sustained significant injuries to all four fingers and required surgery. The damaged index and little fingers were repaired but his middle and ring finger had to be amputated.
Lam-Art admitted one charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The firm admitted failing to ensure all people using the Orma veneer press had adequate health and safety information and written instructions for safe usage of the equipment, in particular to correct procedures for starting and setting up the machine.
An agent acting on behalf of the firm said what happened was a “most unfortunate breakdown of communication”.