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Food manufacturer found guilty and fined £60,000

A well-known food manufacturer has been fined and ordered to pay legal costs after one of its workers suffered a nasty crushing injury resulting in the amputation of a limb.

The accident happened after a short term contract employee was working on the production line and got onto a conveyor belt to remove some vegetables which had become stuck.  Unfortunately they slipped causing them to fall into a collecting hopper which then caused serious injury.

A Magistrates court heard that the man’s body was pulled into the auger and was trapped for an hour while orthopaedic surgeons tried to free him without causing further injury.

His injuries were extensive and included partial amputation of his right foot and full amputation below the knee of his left leg. He now wears a prosthetic leg as a result of the accident.

The HSE found that although the conveyor belt was switched off at the time the worker climbed up but the auger was still running.   The investigation found that the company had not made sufficient assessment of the risks involved in the job and failed to reasonably provide a safe system of work for the task ie,  instructions, training and supervision.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 33(1) (a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 at and was fined £60,000.

An HSE inspector commented: “This tragic incident was entirely avoidable. Augers are known to be the cause of serious accidents when limbs are drawn in.

“It is clear that supervisors and management had not considered how this task was being done.”

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