Biffa Waste Services Ltd has been fined a total of £20,000 after a worker lost the tips of two fingers in a work injury.
The 28-year-old agency worker was trying to remove tape that had become wrapped around the external chain drive of a sorting machine when the incident happened at the company’s Victory Road site in Derby on 4 February 2013.
Machine not properly guarded
Derby Magistrates’ Court heard the case on 3 April and was told his glove became entangled in the moving chains, which severed the tips of his little and ring fingers of his right hand.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors discovered that the machine had not been adequately guarded when it had been brought back into use after being fitted with the external chain drive following a breakdown.
The machine had become blocked more regularly following its refit and the workers operating it had not been given adequate training in how to safely isolate the drive.
Firm admitted safety breaches
Biffa Waste Services Ltd, of Coronation Road, Cressex, High Wycombe, admitted breaches to health and safety in the workplace.
It owned up to two counts of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
In addition to the fines totalling £20,000, the firm was ordered to pay costs of £1,542.
Work injury ‘was avoidable’
HSE inspector Edward Walker said after the hearing that the worker suffered a painful work injury that “could have been prevented”.
He explained: “The company was fully aware of the requirement for the chains to be guarded and had made arrangements for guards to be added later that week, yet still allowed the machine to be used before that happened.”
Source: BBC News