Lincolnshire Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 18 August 2017, an employee of the ingredients firm was involved in an accident at its Gainsborough factory.
While investigating a blockage of flour within a collection hopper at the site, the worker’s foot slipped on the ladder he was standing on. As he reached out to balance himself, his right hand came into contact with the rotating vanes of a rotary valve, resulting in partial amputations to all four fingers.
No risk assessment
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Kerry Ingredients had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the task of clearing blockages from collection hoppers.
Suitable measures to either avoid or minimise the risks from contact with dangerous moving parts and working from height had not been implemented and no safe system of work had been provided to employees.
Further investigation also found that insufficient information, instruction and training on how to carry out the task safely had not been provided to employees, with dangerous working practices persisting for a number of years unchallenged.
Kerry Ingredients (UK) Ltd of Carr Lane, Gainsborough pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,622.64.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Aaron Rashad said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.
“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life-changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”