Lincoln Magistrates Court heard how, on 21 October 2016, an employee of the company was cleaning and emptying the machine when his right arm was drawn into the unguarded contra-rotating haulm rollers.
In order to check that the grader was emptying, he climbed on to the side of the grader and reached into the machine in an attempt to move the remaining potatoes.
His glove was caught by the rollers, drawing his arm in and causing serious injuries. It took 45 minutes to release him.
Investigation by the HSE
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a safe stop procedure could have been followed and that the contra-rotating rollers should have been guarded.
Leverton Brothers owners David and Philip Leverton pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
The two were each fined £5,000 and each was ordered to pay costs of £892.10.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Martin Giles said: “This injury could have been easily prevented and the risk should have been identified. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”
‘Could have been prevented’
The past year has seen a number of incidents involving workers’ hands being injured after being caught or drawn into machinery.
In December, ice cream accompaniment manufacturer Marcantonio Foods was fined £300,000, after a worker had four fingers amputated while operating a metalworking lathe.
Meanwhile, in November, a north-west bakery was ordered to pay more than £9,000, after one of its workers suffered serious injuries to his arm and hand in an accident with a food-mixing machine.