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Worker's finger amputated after trapping hand in machine

18 December 2022

AN AGRICULTURAL firm has been fined after an employee lost a finger when his hand became trapped in a machine.

A male worker at CYO Seeds Ltd was cleaning a machine at a site in Shipbourne, Tonbridge, Kent, on 10 February 2021, when his glove was caught by a rotating device. His handed became trapped and his right index finger was amputated.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had removed part of the outer casing of the machine and had replaced it with a sliding cover. The cover was easily removable and exposed dangerous parts of the machine when it was running. When cleaning the machine at the end of the working day, it was common practice to run the machine for a short period of time with the sliding cover removed.

CYO Seeds Ltd, of Chilton, Oxfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. They were fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,300 at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 8 November 2022.

HSE Principal Inspector Karen Morris said, “This incident could have been avoided if the risk of entanglement had been identified and properly addressed. Wherever possible, employers should ensure that operatives cannot come into contact with dangerous parts of machinery, even if only briefly.

“In this case, the company were able to improve the safety of the machine quickly and easily. While this has now reduced the risk for operatives using the machine in the future, these changes are unfortunately too late for this employee who has suffered a permanent disabling condition.”