The man, who preferred not to be named, injured his left index finger at Loscoe Chilled Foods’ Ilkeston site on November 7 2011. The accident happened as he tried to remove meat from a blade on the mincing machine at Grange Farm factory.
Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard the machine had been stopped and was slowing down when the accident happened. When collecting a tub of mince from the end of the production line, the worker noticed some meat had become stuck in the outfeed. So he removed the guard and reached in to remove the mince. But his hand contacted with the still-moving blade.
The worker required emergency surgery at hospital and was off work for three weeks before later retiring.
While the guard was not required to be fixed, it was intended to be removed only by a trained operator following a specific method, according to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The injured worker had not been trained to perform that task, so did not follow the correct procedure, said the HSE.
The court was told the firm had failed to implement a proper training system for the machine. That was despite a similar incident in the past, which resulted in the HSE offering specific advice on the matter.
Dangerous moving parts
HSE inspector Emma Madeley said after the hearing: “Loscoe Chilled Foods had a duty to ensure its employees were protected from the dangerous moving parts of the mincing machine.
“The fact that a specific procedure had to be carried out to remove the guard shows the firm recognised the risk, yet it failed to ensure its employees were adequately trained and supervised. There was a lack of control which resulted in a man suffering a painful injury.”
Loscoe Chilled Foods was fined a total of £16,000 and ordered to pay £16,192 in costs, after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.