Walsall Magistrates’ Court heard how the worker was working as a box maker at the dairy manufacturer’s Minsterley site in Shropshire in July 2016 when their hand got caught on a tray ejector.
Following the accident, the worker had to have their middle finger amputated below the second knuckle, lost their index finger and had their third finger amputated to the first knuckle.
Seven years unguarded
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the in-running nip on a tray ejector was improperly guarded and that Müller had not properly guarded dangerous parts of the machine for more than seven years.
Müller UK & Ireland Group of Minsterley, Shrewsbury pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision of Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £66,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,024.20.
HSE inspector Andrew Johnson said the incident would have been easily preventable had Muller applied effective control measures to minimise the risks from dangerous parts of the machinery.
Well known dangers
“The dangers associated with in-running nips are well known, and a wealth of advice and guidance is freely available from HSE and other organisations,” he added.
Earlier this year, Hertfordshire-based bakery Mr Bagel’s Ltd was ordered to pay £9,000 after a worker’s hand was amputated at the wrist after being dragged into machinery. The HSE discovered that adequate measures were not in place to prevent staff from accessing dangerous parts of the machine.
Meanwhile, latest figures from the HSE found that workplace injuries in the food and drink manufacturing sector were significantly higher than the national average, with musculoskeletal disorders the most reported cause of worker ill health.