Mushroom firm fined £20k for unguarded machine

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Thakeham Mushrooms Ltd was fined £20,000
Thakeham Mushrooms Ltd was fined £20,000

Related tags: Accident, Hse

A mushroom business has been fined £20,000 after one of its workers was injured while adjusting an unguarded machine.

Thakeham Mushrooms Ltd of West Sussex was successfully prosecuted for safety failings at Worthing Magistrates’ Court by the Health and Safety Executive. (HSE).

The court was told how the employee – who asked to remain anonymous – was working on the firm’s tray tipping line, when the accident happened on December 17 2014. One of the empty wooden trays – which can weigh up to 181kg – hit him in the face, according to a HSE investigation.

Machine lacked guarding

There machine lacked guarding, after its removal 18 months before the accident, despite it being guarded at a previous location and staff asking for safeguarding to be installed.

After the hearing HSE inspector Graham Goodenough said: “Despite requests from employees and managers, this machine had been left without safeguarding following its relocation. This failing meant that the operators were exposed to the risks from this machine on a daily basis for 18 months.

“Had the company installed the same level of guarding, which they have now done, this accident and the resulting consequences for the employee and the company need not have happened.”

Fined a total of £20,000

Thakeham Mushrooms Ltd, of Storrington Road, Thakeham, was fined a total of £20,000, with costs of £1,943, after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Safety is no accident

“British employers would save around 250,000 work days each year if they could just keep people safe on machinery. Even for survivors, the injuries can be life-changing.”

  • HSE

Across UK manufacturing, there are about a dozen deaths and 40,000 injuries each year due to incidents where workers have been using machines, and “most of these are easily prevented”,​ according to the HSE website.

“Workers in machine shops, engineering works, and factories can be put at risk by employers failing to maintain safety devices designed to protect staff on machinery or allowing its removal,” ​said the executive.

“British employers would save around 250,000 work days each year if they could just keep people safe on machinery. Even for survivors, the injuries can be life-changing.”

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