Man loses fingers in grain milling accident
Roman Banach, 49, who lives in Wellingborough, was reaching into the chute of a mixer at Genteel Associates Limited, also based in Wellingborough, on 16 August 2011. He touched unguarded blades and severed all but one finger on his right hand up to the first joint.
He still experiences pain and has been unable to return to work.
Failed to adequately guard mixer
Wellingborough Magistrates' Court heard yesterday that Genteel Associates failed to adequately guard the mixer to restrict access to dangerous moving parts.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also identified guarding problems with two other machines. This resulted in Prohibition Notices being served on all three to place them out of bounds until they were made safe.
HSE also served four Improvement Notices: one because the company had no system of checking guards were in place; another required it to get competent health and safety advice.
A third was because staff were not protected from grain dust, which can induce asthma. And a final Notice was because employees were not protected from workplace noise.
Genteel Associates Limited, of Lloyd Close, Finedon Road Industrial Estate, Wellingborough, was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £12,776 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.
"Health and safety isn't about paperwork, it is about recognising and controlling very real risks - whatever the size of your company," said HSE inspector Elizabeth Hornsby, speaking after the hearing.
"Genteel Associates has now taken the necessary action to comply with all the Notices served on them, and has improved standards as a result.
"However, it took a serious incident and an extremely painful injury to an employee for the company to start identifying and controlling the risks in their business. Had this happened sooner, the incident could have been avoided."