According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the firm was fined £22,500 and £8,708 costs for illegally modifying the machine at its Villiers Street factory, which was designed to cut foil lids for yogurt pots.
An HSE investigation found that Chadwicks of Bury - which makes lids for yogurt pots, ice cream cartons and other food containers - had covered the machine’s sensors, which were designed to stop the machine when something other than foil was threaded through it.
In May 2008, the 51-year-old worker was re-threading paper through the machine when its cutting tool restarted, and lost four fingers on her right hand as a result.
Completely avoidable accident
Nanette Cox, HSE investigating inspector at HSE, said: "This lady suffered life-long injuries in a completely avoidable incident. She has been unable to return to work, and finds it difficult to carry out everyday activities.
"Chadwicks of Bury disabled the sensors on the machine and failed to install an alternative guard to stop employees accessing the dangerous cutting tool inside the machine while it was operating.
Chadwicks of Bury pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery, and was fined at Manchester Crown Court last Friday.
Said Cox: "We would remind all companies to ensure machines are properly guarded. This employee has to live with the consequences of these management failings, but lessons must be learnt by other employers."