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Food Firm Fined For Finger Injury

Health and Safety Executive

1:47pm 29th October 2012

A North Yorkshire food producer has been fined after an employee trapped and crushed three fingers in dangerous unguarded machinery according to the the Health and Safety Executive.

They say that Peter Bradbury, 25, was lifting a box of food from the end of a production line at Malton Foods Ltd when his fingers got caught between the conveyor belt and a powered drum roller.

Adding that although his hands were freed in less than a minute, Mr Bradbury, of Riverside View, Malton, suffered severe crush injuries to the end of his left index finger that resulted in long-term nerve damage and limited movement. The ring and middle finger on his right hand were also injured.

The incident, on 23 February this year, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, who say they prosecuted Malton Foods Ltd for safety breaches at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.

The Health and Safety Executive say the court was told that the end of the conveyor belt should have been guarded by the company to prevent contact by employees with dangerous moving parts. Adding that Malton Foods Ltd had been established a year earlier after a management buy-out of Westlers Ltd at the same site in Amotherby, Malton.

The Health and Safety Executive say that Malton Foods Ltd admitted a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 for failing to take effective measures to prevent access to a dangerous part of a machine. The company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £1,381 in costs.

After the hearing, Health and Safety Executive inspector Katie Dixon said:

“This is a typical example of an unnecessary and entirely preventable incident that is sadly all too frequent across the manufacturing industries.

“Companies must ensure all their machines are properly guarded and safe to use. Where companies obtain new machines, they should not make the assumption that functioning guards are in place. Always assess the risk and take what action is needed before allowing production to start.

“While Mr Bradley’s injuries were not life-threatening, he may suffer permanent damage to his hand. Fortunately he has been able to return to work, albeit in a different area where the cold temperatures do not prompt pain to his damaged fingers.”

According to the Health and Safety Executive provisional statistics for 2010/11, there were 25 fatal injuries and more than 17,000 injuries in the manufacturing industries. For advice on safe use of machinery, visit www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing

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