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Court case highlights poor machine safety

Posted in: Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

A food manufacturer has appeared in court for safety offences after one of its workers lost the tip of her finger using a badly-guarded machine in a Doncaster factory.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and prosecuted the company for breaching regulations designed to safeguard workers using machinery.

Doncaster Magistrates heard that Ms Thapa was in the production area at the firm’s premises. A mobile screw conveyor was being used to fill a packing machine with powdered ingredients but the machine was known to block regularly.

HSE found that the fixed guard over the top of the hopper, which prevented workers getting access to the dangerous screw part, had been modified. Instead of being fixed at all four corners, it was fixed at only two, allowing it to be lifted while the machine was running.

Ms Junu Thapa attempted to clear a blockage while the machine was operating and her hand slipped, hitting the screw mechanism. She was released from hospital after treatment the same day and has since found work with another firm.

The latest HSE figures show 28 people died while working in the manufacturing industry in Great Britain in 2010/11 and there were more than 3,800 injuries.


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