A man suffered serious cuts to his fingers as he cleaned a machine at a pastry-making factory, a court has been told.
Lantmannen Unibake UK Ltd was fined £15,000 with costs of £1,838 after admitting it breached the Health and Safety at Work Act at the plant in Bedford.
Luton and South Bedford Magistrates’ Court heard that the accident at work happened in November 2012 after the employee, who doesn’t want to be identified, was asked to clean part of a machine.
But as he tried to clean inside a metal hood one of his hands came into contact with an industrial extractor fan’s rotating blades.
The man suffered serious injuries to the ring and little fingers on his left hand. He was not able to go back to work for four months – only returning then to carry out light duties – and still suffers with pain in his shoulder and arm two years later, the court heard.
Accident ‘easily preventable’
Magistrates heard a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation had established that the accident could have been easily prevented had the firm, which is registered at Bagshot in Surrey, provided better training and had proper safeguards in place.
They were told machines at the factory could not be cleaned safely as there was no power isolation procedure in place while the instructions given to the worker had not been clear enough.
The court heard the instructions he was given led him to think he should clean part of the machine where an inspection hatch that restricted access to the fan blades had been taken off.
Proper training should have been given
Following the court case Andrew McGill, a HSE inspector, said it was crucial that proper training, adequate supervision and clear information should be given to people working on production lines.
The inspector said the firm had failed in its duty of care to their staff, adding that the accident at work and the man’s painful injury could have been easily avoided with the proper training and safeguards.