A FOOD firm has been fined £14,000 for repeated safety failings after two workers suffered severe injuries in separate incidents just three months apart.
The first incident, in December 2009, resulted in Cranswick Convenience Foods employee James Hardcastle (32), having his left hand amputated after it became trapped in the rotating knives of an industrial tenderiser.
Weeks later, in March, a fellow worker severed the ends of two fingers on his right hand while feeding plastic film into a machine designed to seal food into packaging.
Both incidents at Cranswick’s premises on the Valley Park Industrial Estate in Wombwell, could and should have been avoided, according to the Health and Safety Executive.
The HSEprosecuted operating company Studleigh-Royd for safety breaches.
The company, based in Hull, pleaded guilty to two separate breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Barnsley Magistrates’ Court heard that in relation to the incident involving Mr Hardcastle, the tenderiser machine was poorly guarded, with workers able to access dangerous moving parts simply by using a metal object, like a knife, to override a guard interlocked by a magnetic sensor.
Bypassing the interlocked guard made it quicker and easier to feed meat into the machine, but in doing so operators put themselves at risk.
That was the case when Mr Hardcastle was operating the machine—his gloved hand was drawn into the machine and his arm became trapped between rotating knives.
Engineers had to free him by dismantling the machine, but his left hand later had to be amputated.
HSE reported that an adequate knowledge and understanding of the requirements covering work equipment combined with a proper risk assessment would have identified the need for improved guarding.
The guarding was also deemed inadequate on the sealing machine that injured the second worker, who does not want to be identified.
He was able to access a danger zone with his right hand and his fingers were caught between a sealing head.
Studleigh-Royd Ltd was fined £8,000 relating to the offence involving Mr Hardcastle and £6,000 on the second offence.
They were also ordered to pay £8,387.70 in costs in connection to both incidents.