A veteran worker had to have a finger amputated after getting it caught in a machine’s unguarded chain at a packaging factory, a court heard.
The 54-year-old man’s employer, Huhtamaki UK Ltd, of Gosport in Hampshire, was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,088 after being found guilty of breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
Portsmouth Magistrates Court heard that the man, who has worked for the firm for 34 years, and a colleague were feeding plastic sheets into the machine when his finger got caught between a roller and the chain in February 2013.
More could have been done
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), prosecuting, said his finger had been severed to the bone. Surgeons had battled in vain to save the finger and had to amputate it the next day.
The HSE said its investigation had found that the UK division of Huhtamaki – which operates 60 manufacturing sites around the world and specialises in food and drink packaging – could and should have done more to ensure the machine was safe.
It said the accident at work could have been avoided had the machine’s feeding line been properly guarded to stop access to dangerous parts.
Incidents ‘all too common in manufacturing’
Magistrates heard that the company had failed to fully identify and assess the risks posed by the unguarded chain.
Following the court case HSE inspector Russell Beckett said although the firm had previously held a good health and safety record it had fallen below the minimum legal safety standards on this occasion, resulting in the employee being badly injured.
He added: “Incidents of this kind are all too common in the manufacturing sector, and the onus is on employers to ensure appropriate guarding is in place at all times to protect workers.”
Specialist solicitors at Accident Advice Helpline can help people who have been
injured at work with their accident compensation claims. To discuss your potential claim with a member of Accident Advice Helpline’s expert team dial 0800 689 0500 now.
Source: Portsmouth News