A worker suffered crush injuries to three of his fingers after getting a hand trapped in an unguarded machine at a food manufacturing firm, a court has heard.
Maidstone Crown Court was told how a guard on the machine at Veetee Rice Ltd’s Kent factory had been deliberately disabled, resulting in Khalil Ahmed’s horrific accident at work in March 2012.
The Rochester-based firm was fined £30,000 and told to pay costs of £5,492 after admitting it breached the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
It was also ordered to pay Mr Ahmed £500 in compensation.
The court heard that Mr Ahmed, of Chatham, had been repositioning packets of rice on a conveyor to enable them to be labelled at the company’s factory on the Medway City Estate.
‘Machine guards vital’
One of the boxes ended up on the unguarded rollers and when Mr Ahmed tried to pull it off, his right hand got trapped injuring his fingers, the court was told.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the machine’s safety interlock mechanism had been intentionally disabled, enabling workers to get too near to its dangerous moving parts.
Veetee Rice Ltd, of Veetee House, Neptune Close, was fined £140,000 for similar safety failings in November 2009 following the tragic death of an employee.
HSE inspector Guy Widdowson says that within the manufacturing sector, food production has one of the worst safety records.
He added that having properly working guards on machinery is absolutely vital as they can prevent workers being severely injured or even killed.
Accident Advice Helpline can help workers claim compensation for personal injuries and help people claim compensation on behalf of a deceased relative.
Source: Kent Online