The employee – Peter Bradbury, aged 25– was lifting a box of food from the end of a production line at Malton Foods when his fingers became caught between the conveyor belt and a powered drum roller.
Bradbury 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 in the incident on February 23 this year.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted the North Yorkshire food producer for safety breeches at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.
The court was told that the end of the conveyor belt should have been guarded by the company to prevent putting employees at risk of contact with dangerous moving parts.
Malton Foods admitted a single breech of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 for failing to take effective measures to prevent access to a dangerous part of the machine.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Katie Dixon said: “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.
“While Mr Bradbury’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.”
There were 25 fatal injuries and more than 17,000 injuries in the manufacturing industries in 2010/11, according to HSE statistics.
Dixon, added: “This is a typical example of an unnecessary and entirely preventable incident that is sadly all too frequent across the manufacturing industries.”
The HSE provides free advice on the safe use of machinery.