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Company fined after worker's arm trapped in machine

Date:
20 August 2013

A Suffolk firm has been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered serious injuries to his arm when it became trapped in unguarded machinery.

Attila Czege, a 34-year-old Hungarian agency worker, was working for Indo European Foods Ltd in Felixstowe when the incident happened on 20 September 2012.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court was told today (20 August) that the worker became trapped and entangled in an unguarded conveyor while working on a production line involved in bagging rice. His right arm was dragged in and around a large roller at the end of the conveyor, trapping his whole arm.

Mr Czege sustained fractures to his upper and lower arm and underwent surgery three times in two weeks to repair the damage. He was unable to return to work for several months.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the conveyor had been in the factory since 2006 and had never been properly guarded to prevent access to the dangerous moving parts. The court also heard that following a routine inspection in April 2009, HSE advised the company to install guards on this part of the machine. However, the company failed to adequately act on this advice.

Indo European Foods Ltd, of Kohinoor House, Langer Road, Felixstowe, was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £910.65 plus a victim surcharge of £1,600 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Saffron Turnell, said:

"The risk presented by this conveyor was evident given the working processes involved on the production line.

"The dangers associated with conveyors are well known throughout industry and the guarding of dangerous moving parts is a fundamental element of mechanical safety. Conveyors are involved in 30 per cent of all machinery incidents in the food/drink industries and nine out of ten conveyor injuries occur on flat belt conveyors.

"This incident could have easily been avoided as action to guard the machine adequately was quick and inexpensive. It is disappointing that Indo European Foods Ltd failed to satisfactorily heed the earlier advice of HSE. Instead, Mr Czege suffered a serious and painful injury which resulted in several months off work."

For more information about safety in the food manufacturing industry visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/food/index.htm

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken to (a) prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or (b) to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.

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