A food company specialising in dairy products has been prosecuted after an agency worker suffered severe injuries when their fingers were caught in machinery.
Walsall Magistrates’ Court heard that following the incident on 12 July 2016, an agency worker had to have their middle finger amputated below the second knuckle, lost half their index finger and had their third finger amputated to the first knuckle. The agency employee was working as a box maker on a machine known as a tray erector, at the company’s Minsterley site in Shropshire, when the incident occurred.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the in-running nip on the tray erector was not properly guarded. The company had failed to guard dangerous parts of the machine to prevent access for more than seven years.
Müller UK & Ireland Group of Minsterley, Shrewsbury pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision of Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £66,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,024.20.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Johnson said: “This preventable incident could have easily been avoided had the company properly assessed and applied effective control measures to minimise the risks from dangerous parts of the machinery.
“The dangers associated with in-running nips are well known, and a wealth of advice and guidance is freely available from HSE and other organisations.”