Friday 4 October 2013

Kebab manufacturer fined after hand was drawn into machinery

Kismet Kebabs Ltd, an Essex kebab manufacturer, has been fined £25,000 (inc costs) for serious safety failings after a worker suffered horrific injuries to his hand when it became trapped in unguarded machinery.
The circumstances were:
  • The accident occurred on a derinding machine on 9 February 2012.
  • Despite the known risks of machine operators having their fingers or other body parts drawn into machinery, particularly in running trap points, there was no interlock or tunnel guard on the machine preventing employees reaching the stripper comb or stopping the machine operating when it was in its open position for cleaning.
  • Training in the use of the machine was inconsistent. Employees had not been made aware of the risks and dangers which could occur during cleaning operations and the methods they should use to ensure they were not exposed to those risks.
  • A worker, Ethem Torunoglu,  was cleaning a derinding machine when he noticed a piece of meat or sinew caught in the stripper comb. 
  • While the machine was running he tried to dislodge it with a pressure washer.
  • When that failed he reached in. His hand was drawn into the machine between the stripper comb and the serrated roller above it.
  • He couldn't reach the stop button from where he was so the serrated roller continued to rotate over the back of his hand, grinding it away until a colleague came and turned off the machine.
  • He sustained significant injuries including losing the knuckles on his right hand, substantial damage to the tendons and veins and loss of flesh from his hand.
  • He has had substantial surgery since the accident.

The HSE Inspector said:
"This incident was wholly avoidable. Ethem Torunoglu was failed by the company's lack of proper training, inadequate assessment of risks, and lack of effective measures to stop access to dangerous parts of equipment. From Mr Torunoglu's point of view his life has been destroyed. He is unable to go back to work. He is unable to use his hand and only has about 10 per cent range of movement in it. His whole life has been affected and he relies on his wife for many of the tasks of daily living. The risks of in-running trap points - where there is a gap sufficient for something such as fingers or other body parts to be drawn in - are well known in the food manufacturing industry and Kismet Kebabs Ltd should have put in place suitable measures to prevent this type of injury from occurring. Instead Mr Torunoglu has been left with a serious injury from which he will likely never completely recover."

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