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Finger amputations cost pork pie maker £800k fine

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Pork Farms Ltd was fined £800k after two workers were involved in incidents that resulted in their fingers being amputated
Pork Farms Ltd was fined £800k after two workers were involved in incidents that resulted in their fingers being amputated

Related tags health & safety

Quiche and pie manufacturer Pork Farms Ltd has been fined a total of £800k after two workers lost fingers in incidents at two different Nottingham bakeries.

Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard how the two younger workers were injured just weeks apart at the end of 2022.

The first incident took place at the manufacturer’s Tottle Bakery on 16 November, when a 22-year-old employee trapped their hand while attempting to clear a blockage on a conveyor. His hand was caught between a chain and a sprocket, resulting in his finger having to be amputated.

Just weeks later a second worker suffered similar injuries in an incident at Pork Farms Ltd’s Riverside Bakery.

Mahamad Hassan had his finger amputated after his finger came into contact with a rotating shaft on a conveyor, when his arm went between the rollers and his gloved hand became entangled in the rotating driveshaft. 

HSE investigation

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that dangerous parts of both conveyors were accessible at the time of each incident.

At the Tottle Bakery, an unsuitable interlock had been used on a hinged guard over a chain conveyor system and an inadequate inspection and maintenance regime led to this interlock failing. The chain conveyor automatically moved as the worker tried to adjust the position of the chain in their attempt to clear a blockage.

Meanwhile, at the Riverside Bakery, a section of the driveshaft of a lineshaft style conveyor was unguarded and spacing of the rollers was sufficient for a person’s arm to pass through and reach the driveshaft below.

In addition to physical guarding issues, there was no warning system to give notice that the conveyor was about to start working and emergency stop controls were not readily accessible.

Pleaded guilty  

Pork Farms Ltd, of Queens Drive, Nottingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The company was fined £600,000 for the incident at the Tottle Bakery and £200,000 for the incident at the Riverside Bakery, and ordered to pay costs of £6,482 at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on 18 March 2024.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Tim Nicholson said: “They left two young men with injuries that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

“Companies shouldn’t overlook important machinery safety basics, including provision and maintenance of adequate guards and protection devices, to ensure that access to dangerous parts of machinery is prevented.”

In other health and safety news, pizza manufacturer Stateside Foods Ltd was fined £800k after two workers suffered serious injuries at its factory in Bolton.

Related topics Legal Bakery Meat, poultry & seafood

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