A worker has been left unable to straighten his finger after getting it caught machinery at a food factory, a court heard.
Reading Magistrates’ Court was told the man broke his finger and suffered cuts while clearing a sugar dispensing machine. The accident at work happened at English Provender Company Ltd’s factory, which produces chutney, condiments and salad dressings, in Berkshire.
Pins inserted in worker’s finger
Following the accident the employee, who does not want to be identified, had to have two pins put into his injured finger. And although he has undergone a series of physiotherapy sessions he is no longer able to straighten his finger. The man is working again but has now moved to another firm.
He was injured, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told magistrates, while using a sugar dispenser. But because the particles of sugar were clumping together he put his left hand inside to try and improve the flow.
When he did, the sugar flowed out and on to a set of scales. But when the pre-set target weight of 25kg was hit, the chute’s valve closed, breaking his index finger.
The Liverpool-based firm was fined a total of £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,178 after pleading guilty to breaching both the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.
‘Guard should have been fitted’
HSE inspector Leon Donovan said the accident could have been avoided had a simple and inexpensive fixed guard been fitted on the machine to prevent access to its automatic sliding valve.
He said the company should have conducted a proper assessment of the risks linked to operating and maintaining the factory’s sugar dispensing machine.
That, the inspector added, would have pinpointed the issues, which caused the factory accident and resulted in the employee being injured.
Source: Health & Safety Executive
Date Published: July 14, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown