Hereford Magistrates’ Court also ordered Pontrilas Sawmills Ltd to pay court costs of £17,756.

The court heard that a saw operator had been attempting to remove a piece of wood from the idling end roller of a conveyor when his hand and arm were drawn in and trapped between the conveyor belt and roller.

Other staff rushed to his aid and the belt had to be cut to release his arm.

The worker suffered crush injuries to his upper right arm and nerve damage which has weakened the arm and hand. He needs further nerve grafts to restore their uses and has not yet been able to return to work.

A Health & Safety Executive investigation discovered the conveyor had been affected by a fault which the company had known about for at least three weeks.

The fault led to increasing wood debris accumulating at the idle roller end, making it more likely the machine would trip out.

A conveyor guard on the equipment was not lockable so did not fulfil safety regulations.

Pontrilas also did not have a written safe system of work which would have identified the need to isolate the conveyor before attempting to clear debris.