London food company fined after worker’s fingers cut

Donut Maker
Donut Maker by Steve Snodgrass, on Flickr
Two London-based food companies have been fined a total of £15,000 ($22,600) after a worker had his fingers severed while using a food mixing blender at a factory in Ealing.

The cleaning hatch of the blender was open, exposing the rotating blade and as the worker started using the machine, three fingers and a thumb on his right hand were amputated.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Smith Weston Ltd of Elveden Road, Park Royal, which employed the worker. HSE also prosecuted Kolak Snack Foods Ltd, which owned the site – and which supplies many major supermarkets with their products – following the incident on 27 April 2009.

The City of London Magistrates Court heard that the machine should have stopped automatically when the cleaning hatch was open, and that the blender was in a poor state of repair.

Kolak Snack Foods Ltd should have had properly planned safe systems of work at the site and maintained the machinery so workers could not have access to dangerous parts, while the machine was in motion. Staff should have also been suitably trained and supervised.

Smith Weston Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £7,500 ($11,300).

Kolak Snack Foods Ltd, which was responsible for maintence of the machinery, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £7,500 ($11,300).

Both companies were jointly ordered to pay costs of £3,365 ($5,100).

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector, Saif Deen said:

“This worker suffered horrific and lifelong injuries to his right hand, because these companies failed to properly protect him.

This case stresses the need for employers to have safe systems of work in place so that guards and crucial safety devices are working properly, ensuring that dangerous machinery can be used safely.”

Source: Health and Safety Executive

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