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Court action for Brent food company

Date:
20 February 2014

A Park Royal food company has been prosecuted for safety breaches after an employee lost the ends of two fingers in a poorly-guarded machine.

The 45-year-old worker, from Harrow, suffered partial amputation of the ring finger and serious injury to the little finger of his right hand after it was caught in a rotating drum that he was trying to clean at Dina Foods Ltd premises in Gorst Road.

The incident, on 4 May 2013, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which  prosecuted the firm for safety failings at Westminster Magistrates’ Court (19 Feb).

HSE found Dina Foods Ltd, a family firm employing some 150 staff in three factories in North West London, did not make sure the machine’s guarding prevented workers from getting too close to dangerous moving parts.

The court was told that the worker was cleaning the machine and was trying to detach a drum when his foot pressed an operating pedal. The machine started running and his right hand was caught in the rotating mechanism, badly injuring the two fingers. He spent four days in hospital and has been unable to return to work since.

HSE served an enforcement notice on Dina Foods Ltd prohibiting use of the machine until it was sufficiently guarded and advised the firm of the need for regular checks on machine safety in food factories.

Dina Foods Ltd, of Gorst Road, Park Royal, London, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,477 in costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Saif Deen said:

“This worker has been severely affected by the injury and now has a long-term impairment. It may have serious consequences on his future work prospects, especially where dexterity is a requirement.

“If Dina Foods had ensured the machinery was suitably guarded, the incident would not have happened. It was only after enforcement action by HSE that the firm introduced measures that should have been taken before to protect against access to dangerous parts of the equipment.

“It is not uncommon for employees in manufacturing industries to be injured when cleaning unguarded, operating machinery. The law specifies the measures that should be taken and HSE will prosecute companies which have sub-standard safety precautions in place.”

For information and advice on safety working in manufacturing sectors, visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive 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.  Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”

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