The Bee Health employee was using a ribbon blender at the firm’s Carnaby Industrial Estate, Bridlington, in March 2010 when the accident happened. The worker had been mixing product ingredients but was unaware that a fixed guard underneath the machine had been removed along with a valve that needed a new part.
Bridlington Magistrates heard another worker had taken the valve off the blender to clean, but did not reattach it because it needed a new part. The blender continued to operate while the part was on order with a plastic bag to collect the product.
The injured worker was trying to make a hole in a plastic bag when his fingers were caught in rotating blades. The index finger of his right hand was amputated and he suffered severe cuts and nerve damage to the middle finger.
Commenting after the hearing, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Denise Fotherham, said: "The company didn't look at the risks involved with operating the blender. As a result, no one knew the valve should not be removed, not even the regular machine operator. He took it off to clean it as he just saw it as part of his job. Workers did not realise the valve formed part of the essential guarding of the machine.”
Bee Health also took no steps to prevent the machine being used if the valve was taken off, such as an interlock, she added. “A simple measure like that and adequate instructions for employees would have meant a worker not suffering this debilitating injury."
Bee Health pleaded guilty to two safety breaches brought by HSE. It has fined a total of £7,000 and ordered to pay HSE costs of £4,887.65.