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Worker struck by tray tipping machine at mushroom farm

Date:
27 November 2015

A mushroom farm was fined after an employee was injured whilst making an adjustment to an unguarded machine.

Worthing Magistrates’ Court heard how an employee of Thakeham Mushrooms Limited of West Sussex, was making an adjustment to the company’s tray tipping line, which is used to empty wooden trays which can weigh up to 400lbs, when a full tray hit him in the face.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on 17 December 2014, found that there was no safeguarding of the machine, since it had been moved 18 months prior to the incident, despite it being guarded at its previous location and staff asking for safeguarding to be installed.

Thakeham Mushrooms Limited, of Storrington Road, Thakeham, was fined a total of £20,000, with costs of £1,943, after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Graham Goodenough said: “Despite requests from employees and managers, this machine had been left without safeguarding following its relocation. This failing meant that the operators were exposed to the risks from this machine on a daily basis for 18 months. Had the company installed the same level of guarding, which they have now done, this accident and the resulting consequences for the employee and the company need not have happened.

For more information about machine guards visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/basic-safety-mistakes/guards.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. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/ 
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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