A pig farming company has been fined for what the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) described as an “entirely preventable” injury to one of its workers. The man, employed by Norfolk Free Range Limited, suffered a serious hand injury in the incident. He was working at one of the firm’s indoor pig units at Meadow Farm in Northwold when it happened.
Finger pulled into machine
Kings Lynn Magistrates Court heard how a failure in the automated feeding system had caused an overflow in the distribution of feed pellets. The employee, a stockman, therefore had to shovel feed into neighbouring troughs. He used his hand to sweep the feed off the top of the machinery where it had built up, but as he did so the machine started up automatically, pulling his finger into the auger, which dispenses the feed.
Norfolk Free Range Limited, of Lots Bridge Farm, Three Holes, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to an offence under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It was fined a total of £12,500 and costs of £813.
The accident at work was investigated by the HSE, which identified safety failings on behalf of the company. Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Anthony Brookes said that it was an entirely preventable injury. He claimed that if somebody from the company had checked that all the guards and covers were in place on the feed system before it was returned to service, the employee would not have been injured in the way that he was.
Industries using machinery account for a high number of accidents at work each year, especially agriculture. When accidents in such places happen, there is the increased likelihood of the accident being serious, like in this case. That’s why employers need to carry out a suitable risk assessment before beginning work. Doing so helps them to recognise where there may be issues within the workplace that could lead to accidents.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: October 5, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown