A food manufacturer has been fined £12,000 for safety failings after a worker’s hand was trapped in machinery.
Craig Brandie, 24, who worked for rice producers Veetee Foods Ltd on Medway City Estate in Strood, suffered a crushed finger when he and colleagues began to clean the machine after an oil leak.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive which found the machine’s safety guarding had been disabled and brought a prosecution against the company at Medway Magistrates’ Court.
The court was told that the incident happened on March 22, 2012 at the start of a night shift when production was halted because of an oil leak on a machine that sealed containers of cooked food.
Mr Brandie, from Maidstone, was cleaning a conveyor section of the machine when it began running and part of the mechanism clamped down on his left hand trapping it until colleagues were able to free him.
He suffered a crushed index finger, although he has since been able to return to work elsewhere.
HSE found the interlocked safety gate to the machine had been defeated, allowing workers to get too close to dangerous moving parts of machinery.
HSE could not determine exactly how long it had not been functioning as suitable guard checks were not undertaken by the company.
Veetee Foods Ltd, of Invicta House, Sir Thomas Longley Road, was also ordered to pay £3,023 after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
Afterwards, HSE inspector Guy Widdowson said: “If Veetee Foods Ltd had ensured machinery guards were in place and being used, their employee would not have been harmed. Indeed, it was more down to luck that such an event did not lead to a more serious injury.
“Far too many workers are injured because they have come into contact with dangerous machinery that should be properly guarded. It is critical that safety mechanisms are in place, fully functioning and regularly checked.”
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