Thursday 30 January 2014

Lack of guarding causes finger loss on packaging machine

Huhtamaki UK Ltd , who specialise in food and drink packaging and operates 60 manufacturing sites worldwide, have been fined £10,000 (inc. costs) after a  worker lost a finger in an unguarded chain on a machine.
The circumstances were:
  • The worker was part of a two-man team feeding plastic sheets into the machine after a product change.
  • Huhtamaki failed to fully assess and identify the risks posed by the lack of guarding, and take appropriate action.
  • As he worked from the side of the machine to feed a sheet onto a chain that would draw it inside – described as a spiked bicycle chain – his finger was caught between the chain and a roller.
  • He severed the first finger on his right hand to the bone. It was amputated the following day after surgeons were unable to save it.

The HSE Inspector said:
“Incidents of this kind are all too common in the manufacturing sector, and the onus is on employers to ensure appropriate guarding is in place at all times to protect workers. The company had a previously good health and safety record, but on this occasion it fell below the minimum legal standards for safety and an employee was badly injured as a result. The spiked feed chain was easily accessible from the side of the machine, and it was a dangerous moving part that posed a clear risk.”

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