Friday 21 June 2013

Lack of proper guarding causes finger loss on chocolate machine

Chocolate maker Ashbury Chocolates Ltd., was fined £8485 (inc.cost) after an employee's finger was severed in an inadequately guarded machine.
The circumstances were:
  • The machine was a depositor, which pipes liquid chocolate into moulds
  • It was only partially guarded
  • There was an interlocking guard at the top of the stirrer cavity but there was no protective device in place at the bottom.
  • This meant that it was possible to reach in through the bottom even though the machine was running
  • Joao Countinho was cleaning the machine on 29 February 2012. 
  • He had removed the rotors and reached up to check the stirrer cavity was clean but the stirrers were still rotating. 
  • His left index finger became trapped and was partially severed. It had to be fully amputated later in hospital.
The HSE inspector said: "This was a serious incident that could have easily been prevented. Ashbury Chocolates Limited had a duty to ensure its employees were protected from the dangerous moving parts of its machines. It failed in that duty. The company has since installed a new guard to prevent a recurrence but it is a pity a man had to suffer a painful injury for that to happen."

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