Food firm Heinz has been fined £50,000 after an engineer had his hand severed in machinery.
Alec Brackenbury, from Norfolk, spent two weeks in hospital after the incident last June and has been left unable to drive, work and carry out many day-to-day activities.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Heinz, said the work accident was “wholly avoidable”.
The HSE described the incident as a “life-changing” injury.
Mr Brackenbury, 49 and known as Alf, was servicing a potato peeling machine at Heinz’s Westwick manufacturing plant in Worstead, Norfolk, on the first day of a maintenance shutdown when he climbed down to retrieve a dropped bolt.
The peeling machine was electrically isolated but as he put his hand into the slurry pump below it started and sliced through his wrist.
The incident was investigated by the HSE, which found that although the slurry pump appeared to be an integral part of the peeler, it was in fact a separate machine with its own power supply and isolation point.
Mr Brackenbury did not know this and thought he had isolated the pump along with the peeler at the main distribution box.
Protective guard could have been absent for some time
The HSE found that a protective grate bolted on top of the pump to prevent access was absent, enabling the engineer to reach into dangerous parts of the machine.
The HSE said the guard had possibly been absent for some time.
H J Heinz Manufacturing Ltd of Hayes Park, Hayes, Middlesex, pleaded guilty to a safety breach at Norwich Magistrates’ Court and was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,661.
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Source: BBC News
Date Published: May 20, 2014
Author: David Brown