34-year-old Hungarian worker Attila Czege’s arm became trapped and entangled in an unguarded conveyor while he was working on a production line bagging rice at the firm’s Felixstowe site.
His right arm was dragged in and around a large roller at the end of the conveyor, trapping his whole arm.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation into the accident and found that the conveyor had never been properly guarded to prevent access to dangerous moving parts, despite having been in the factory since 2006.
‘Failed to act on advice’
Ipswich Magistrates Court also heard that following a routine inspection in 2009, the HSE had advised the company to install guards on this part of the machine. However, the company failed to adequately act on this advice.
HSE inspector Saffron Turnell said it was disappointing that Indo had failed to heed previous advice and that Czege had suffered a serious and painful injury as a result. He was forced to spend several months off work while he recovered.
“The risk presented by this conveyor was evident given the working processes involved on the production line,” Turnell said. “This incident could have easily been avoided as action to guard the machine adequately was quick and inexpensive.”
She added that 30% of all machinery accidents in the food and drink sector occur on flat bed conveyors.
30% of all machinery accidents
“The dangers associated with conveyors are well known throughout industry and the guarding of dangerous moving parts is a fundamental element of mechanical safety. Conveyors are involved in 30% of all machinery incidents in the food and drink industries and nine out of 10 conveyor injuries occur on flat belt conveyors.”
Indo European Foods was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £910.65. It was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £1,600 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The regulation states that all employers must make sure measures have been taken to prevent access to any dangerous parts of machinery.
Meanwhile, last week FoodManufacture.co.uk exclusively revealed that poorly guarded machinery was one of the most common causes of accidents in the food and drink manufacturing sector over the last 12 months.