Drinks firm fined for hand slice accident

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

A home-brew kit manufacturer was fined for safety failings
A home-brew kit manufacturer was fined for safety failings

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A drinks manufacturer has been ordered to pay more than £15,000 after an employee’s hand was severed while cleaning a blending machine.

SPL International Ltd was fined this week (July 11) after an employee’s right hand was severed at its factory in Ellesmere Port, Liverpool on October 21 2014.

The Health and Safety Executive told Liverpool Magistrates court the worker’s injuries led to his right hand below the thumb and fingers being severed. He had been unable to return to work since.

Thumb and fingers being severed

On the day of the incident the employee, who asked to remain anonymous, was asked by his supervisor to clean the ‘Ritchie blender’, a Kek Gardner horizontal cantilever mixer, a job which he had done before.

After turning the power supply to the blender off at the mains, he cleaned and dried the inside of the blender before turning the power back on. Later, water was seen dripping from the rim of the outlet hole underneath.

While trying to dry the rim he put his right hand into the access hole and his hand touched the blades. Since the machine was still running, his hand was severely injured.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Jane Carroll said: “This case is a stark reminder of the consequences of a failure to adequately guard machinery and implement safe systems of work for cleaning and maintenance activities.”

Failing to carry out risk assessment

SPL International pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The home brew kit manufacturer admitted to failing to carry out a risk assessment in relation to the risks arising while undertaking cleaning of the blender.

The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £7,004.

Meanwhile, a London-­based food packaging company was ordered to pay £10,520 for safety failings, after an employee lost two fingers in an accident.

The employee of Roberts Metal Packaging suffered severe damage to his left hand after it was trapped under the punch of a mechanical power press.

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