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Worker cleaning machine suffers finger amputation

11 February 2024

A WEST Yorkshire cosmetic manufacturing company has been fined after a worker lost part of a finger while cleaning a machine.

On 8 October 2021, the man was working on a tube filling machine at Orean Personal Care Limited at its base in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire.

He was supervising five members of staff who were using the machine to fill tubes with a product that needed to stay hot. During the process the machine became contaminated and had to be cleaned. When the employee was cleaning the machine, part of it moved, trapping his finger, and causing the injury. Part of his middle finger was amputated, and he still suffers pain in his finger end and may require additional surgery.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the interlocked guard had been bypassed to allow the machine to run with the guard door open. The risk was not managed properly and a range of employees from machine operators to cleaning staff were exposed to it.

HSE has detailed guidance on machine safety.

On 16 January at Leeds Magistrates’ Court, Orean Personal Care Limited of Stubbs Beck Lane, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £4,512 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Justine Lee said, “Moving machinery can cause serious injury and it is essential that access to it is prevented at all times, including during maintenance and cleaning work. The use of effective guarding is an absolute duty and, when complied with, will prevent this type of injury.”

This prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Gemma Zakrzewski.