Company failed in duty to protect employees from dangerous moving parts of machinery…
A chocolate maker in the Northamptonshire region has been prosecuted after an employee had his finger cut off by a machine that did not have adequate guarding in place.
Kettering magistrates were told that the accident victim had been in the process of cleaning a depositor machine, (which functions by piping chocolate liquid into customized moulded patterns), when the accident occurred on 29 February 2012.
The man had removed rotors from the machine to access the internal parts. and as his hand reached out to check if the stirrer cavity was clean, his finger got caught up in the stirrers which were still rotating, and was partially severed.
After the man was transported to local hospital his finger was fully amputated. The 41-year-old man spent three months recovering from his injuries but has since returned to the company to resume his job.
The subsequent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident discovered that the depositor machine had only been partially guarded so that although it had a guard above the stirrer cavity, there was no guarding below it.
The Corby-based company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £5,000 in addition to prosecution costs of £3,485.
HSE inspector Michelle Morrison spoke after the hearing:
“This was a serious incident that could have easily been prevented.
“The company had a duty to ensure its employees were protected from the dangerous moving parts of its machines. It failed in that duty. The company has since installed a new guard to prevent a recurrence but it is a pity a man had to suffer a painful injury for that to happen.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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