Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court heard how the member of staff at LDA Meats Ltd severed their fingers in an accident at its premises on Lyndon Business Park, Lower Road Trading Estate, Ledbury.
On 18 July 2020, the 18-year-old man was operating a grinding machine when he slipped on a patch of wet floor. In an attempt to save himself, he put out his hand and into the machine and severed his fingers when they came into contact with the rotating worm thread within.
Insufficient risk assessment
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the machine had not been suitably and sufficiently assessed to identify the hazardous parts, the risks associated with the machine or the required control measures to prevent access to dangerous parts.
It also found the machine had not been subject to routine guard checks, which meant an issue with the safety cut out device within the lid of the machine had not been detected or remedied – this meant it was possible for the machine to be operated with the lid open, resulting in access to dangerous rotating parts.
At Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on September 26, LDA Meats Ltd of St Ethelbert House, Ryelands Street, Hereford, England, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regs 1998. The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,339.80.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Seren Linton said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided – instead a teenage worker was permanently disfigured at the very start of his working life.
“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risks from dangerous parts of machinery.”
Meanwhile, last month, a farm in Devon was fined £60,000 following the death of a truck driver who was electrocuted by an overhead power line.