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Employee suffers life-changing finger amputations

09 February 2020

A FOOD ingredients manufacturer based in Lincolnshire was fined after one of its employees suffered partial amputation of the four fingers on his right hand after it came into contact with the rotating vanes of a rotary valve.

Lincolnshire Magistrates’ Court heard that on 18 August 2017 an employee of Kerry Ingredients (UK) Limited was investigating a blockage of flour within a collection hopper at a site on Carr Lane, Gainsborough. During the task, his foot slipped on the ladder he was standing on and, as he reached out to balance himself, his right hand came into contact with the rotating vanes of a rotary valve. He sustained partial amputations to all four fingers on his right hand.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), found that the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the task of clearing blockages from collection hoppers. As a result, suitable measures to either avoid or minimise the risks from contact with dangerous moving parts of machinery and working at height were not implemented, and a safe system of work for the task was not provided to employees. The investigation also found that insufficient information, instruction and training had been provided to employees as to how the task should be carried out safely, and arrangements for supervision and monitoring were ineffective as dangerous working practices had persisted for a number of years unchallenged.

Kerry Ingredients (UK) Ltd of Carr Lane, Gainsborough pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,622.64.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Aaron Rashad said, “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”