UK food manufacturer fined over severed finger

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Occupational safety and health Health and safety executive

Spice and cereals processor Arcadia Food Industries has been issued fines totalling £7,080 after an employee’s finger was severed in a spice mixing machine.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Britain’s workplace safety regulator, led a successful prosecution against the Bradford-based manufacturer for failing to comply with work equipment regulations.

On 6 October 2009, an Arcadia employee reached into the discharge hatch of a spice mixing machine and severed his finger. He badly cut another finger on the machine’s rotating paddles.

Access to the running machine should have been impossible under regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The prosecution concluded at Bradford Magistrates Court on 3 June in a case that HSE inspector Neil Hunter said “demonstrates the value of taking time to properly assess potential risks, to identify control measures and to act when issues are raised or warnings are given."

The company was ordered to pay £4,000 for safety breaches which led to the severed finger incident. It was also fined £3,080 for failing to act on earlier HSE warnings related to the improper guarding on equipment following inspections in 2001 and 2003.

Hunter told that following the investigation the company was now compliant with safety regulations.

HSE frustrations

But the HSE inspector said the very fact Arcadia had failed to act on earlier safety warnings made the current case frustrating.

"Fitting suitable guards is not costly, time consuming or difficult and had they been in place this incident would not have occurred and a painful and debilitating injury could have been avoided.

"A suitable and sufficient risk assessment would have identified the need for control measures, such as guarding, to prevent access to moving parts within the mixing machine,”​ he said

This publication contacted Arcadia but a company spokesperson was unavailable for comment.

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