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Salad Company Fined after Worker Loses Tips of Fingers

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have prosecuted a company responsible for growing and packing salads, following an incident in which a worker lost the tips of two fingers.

Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard how in April 2015, a worker operating a bagging machine reached beneath the protective guard of the machine to pull film through. As he did this, the cutting jaws and heat sealing part of the machine closed on two of his fingers, severing the tips of his left middle and ring fingers.

Following an investigation into the incident by the HSE, it was found that there was a hole cut into the interlocked guard of the machine in order to enable larger bags of salad onto a conveyor. However, this hole also enabled access to the dangerous heat sealing and cutting jaws.

After pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), Vitacress Salads Limited, of Lower Link St Mary Bourne, Andover, Hampshire, was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,088.

Kate Clark, HSE inspector, said after the hearing:

“Cutting a hole in the guards led to access to dangerous parts being possible. The company had not properly considered the risks from making this alteration.”

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Source: Health & Safety Executive

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