Taiko Foods worker loses fingertips in machinery accident

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

A worker at Taiko Foods lost the tips of his fingers in an accident at its Acton site
A worker at Taiko Foods lost the tips of his fingers in an accident at its Acton site

Related tags fresh prepared meals Accident

GMB Union has accused Waitrose and Sainsbury’s sushi maker Taiko Foods of playing games with an employee’s life, after a worker lost the tops of his fingers in an accident at its Acton plant.

The worker, Viraj Kakadia, sliced off the tips of two fingers in an accident and was then sent to A&E in a taxi, claimed GMB Union. 

According to the union, Kakadia was operating an unsafe and dangerous vegetable cutting machine – which was missing a safety guard and sensor – that had stopped working during use. The accident occurred when he attempted to restart the machine. 

Kakadia was reportedly also wearing insufficient protective equipment due to lack of availability.  

‘Playing games with my life’ 

Viraj Kakadia, GMB Member, said: “The employer is playing games with my life – if they’d sent the fingertips with ice with me to the hospital, I’d still have them intact today. They didn’t call an ambulance, and they haven’t offered me any support. 

“The employer isn’t providing a safe working environment. The standards aren’t there, the training is not there and it is not a trade union organised workplace.” 

Kakadia accused the company of not treating him and his colleagues equally, devaluing the hard work they do. 

“There is no amount of money for my injury that would solve it so it’s not a question of money,” he added. “GMB union will represent us and ensure this negligence doesn’t happen to anybody else in future.” 

Hiten Vaidya, GMB London region organiser, said Kakadia was not given sick pay and was told the two weeks he took off had to be taken as holiday.  

Challenging the employer  

“GMB gave Viraj emergency funds to get by whilst we approached the company about this and after being challenged the employer agreed to pay full sick pay and reimburse Viraj’s annual leave,​” she added.  

“GMB will tackle the concerns that we have been alerted to by our members at Taiko who must be assured that their safety at work is a priority at all times.” 

A spokesperson for Taiko Foods said Kakadia would be reimbursed for the time he required off work. 

“As a national food manufacturing business, Taiko takes its health and safety obligations very seriously,”​ they told the Mail Online. “The wellbeing of our colleagues is paramount. We provide each employee with thorough training and a full supply of PPE, and we ensure that all machinery is well-maintained and has the correct safety features in place. 

“This was an incident to which the on-site team responded swiftly and efficiently, ensuring our colleague reached hospital as quickly as possible.” 

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