February 6, 2020 12.34 pm This story is over 26 months old

Gainsborough firm fined after employee loses fingertips in work incident

A court hearing has taken place

A Gainsborough food ingredients manufacturer has been fined more than £180,000 after one of its employees lost part of all four fingers on his right hand in a work incident.

Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard that on August 18, 2017, an employee of Kerry Ingredients (UK) Limited was investigating a blockage of flour within a collection hopper at a site on Carr Lane in Gainsborough.

During his investigation, his foot slipped on the ladder he was standing on and, as he reached out to balance himself, his right hand came into contact with the rotating vanes of a rotary valve. He sustained partial amputations to all four fingers on his right hand.

Kerry Ingredients (UK) Ltd of Carr Lane, Gainsborough, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,622.64.

An investigation was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which found that the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the task of clearing blockages from collection hoppers.

Suitable measures to either avoid or minimise the risks from contact with dangerous moving parts of machinery and working at heights were not implemented. A safe system of work for the task was also not provided to employees.

The investigation found that insufficient information, instruction and training had been provided to employees as to how the task should be carried out safely. Arrangements for supervision and monitoring were ineffective as dangerous working practices had persisted for a number of years unchallenged.

Aaron Rashad, HSE Inspector, said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

Kerry Ingredients (UK) Ltd were approached for a response, but did not provide one by the time of publication.