A London food firm has been ordered to pay £5,400 after one of its workers suffered serious finger injuries while cleaning a poorly guarded machine.
The 45-year-old worker, from Harrow, lost the ends of two fingers in the accident at Dina Foods Ltd, Gorst Road, north west London on May 4 2013. The man – who asked to remain anonymous – suffered the partial amputation of his ring finger and serious injury to the little finger of his right hand.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the man’s hand became trapped in a rotating drum while he was trying to clean a machine at the factory.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told the family firm – which employed about 150 staff in three factories in north west London – failed to ensure the machine’s guards prevented workers from exposure to dangerous moving parts.
Caught in the rotating mechanism
Magistrates heard the accident happened when the worker pressed an operating pedal while trying to detach a drum. His right hand became caught in the rotating mechanism when the machine started running. The man spent four days in hospital and has been unable to return to work since the accident.
The HSE served an enforcement notice on the firm, prohibiting use of the machine until it was sufficiently guarded. It also advised the firm to conduct regular checks on machine safety.
Speaking after the hearing last week (February 19), 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.”
The accident would not have happened if Dina Foods had ensured the machinery was adequately guarded, he added. The firm introduced measures to safeguard against access to dangerous parts of the equipment only after enforcement action by HSE.
‘HSE will prosecute companies’
“It is not uncommon for employees in manufacturing industries to be injured when cleaning unguarded, operating machinery,” said Deen. “The law specifies the measures that should be taken and HSE will prosecute companies which have sub-standard safety precautions in place.”
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.
The firm makes premium baked goods for multiple retailers, wholesalers, sandwich makers and airlines.
Meanwhile, in a second prosecution concerning a poorly guarded machine last week, a Lancashire bakery was ordered to pay £6,000, after a pasty-making machine chopped off two finger tips of one of its workers.
Tayyabah Bakery Ltd was fined £1,000 and told to pay £5,002 in prosecution costs, after the firm pleaded guilty to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous machine parts.