Severed fingers lead to food firm fine

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Occupational safety and health

Severed fingers lead to food firm fine
Swancote Foods has been fined £10,000 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a cleaner lost two fingers in a potato processing machine.

The HSE said the 38-year-old was reaching inside an outlet pipe to remove a piece of raw potato at the cooked potato company’s Telford factory in mid-February.

Investigators found that a guard on the machine had not been maintained properly, and Telford Magistrates’ Court subsequently fined Swancote £10,000 and ordered them to pay £5,614 costs at a court appearance yesterday.

The employee has since returned to the factory in a different role, said the HSE, but suffers restricted movement and reduced grip in his hand, which means that everyday tasks are difficult.

Life-changing injury

HSE inspector Liz Mizen said: “This was a very serious incident, which was entirely preventable. As a result of Swancote Foods’ failings, a man has suffered permanent, life-changing injuries to his hand.”

“Companies must ensure they have robust procedures in place to provide and maintain suitable, effective guarding.”

Swancote Foods general manager David Farley told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Swancote Foods takes the health and safety of all staff very seriously, and we deeply regret the incident that occurred and the injury sustained.”

“We are confident that the action we have taken collectively and the measures we have implemented as a management team mean that such an incident will not recur.”

Related topics: Food Safety, Fresh produce

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