Food firm sentenced after worker’s finger severed

The employers of a man whose hand was severely injured on a poorly-guarded spice mixing machine were sentenced today.

Bradford food manufacturer Arcadia Food Industries Limited was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the incident in which the machine severed one of the employee’s fingers and badly cut the other.

Bradford Magistrates Court heard the man was preparing the machine for use when he reached into the discharge hatch of a spice mixing machine. His hand came into contact with rotating paddles within the machine. The HSE investigation found this area should have been impossible to access when the machine was running.

An HSE inspector had already warned Arcadia about insufficient guarding on equipment during an earlier inspection.

The company, of Pawson Street, Bradford, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 over the incident on 6 October 2009. It was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £3,080 costs for failing to act on the earlier warning and failing to adhere to PUWER requirements.

Following the hearing, HSE Inspector Neil Hunter said:

“The very fact Arcadia Food Industries had already been warned to improve safety makes this such a frustrating prosecution. “Fitting suitable guards is not costly, time consuming or difficult and had they been in place this incident would not have occurred and a painful and debilitating injury could have been avoided.

“A suitable and sufficient risk assessment would have identified the need for control measures, such as guarding, to prevent access to moving parts within the mixing machine.

“This case clearly demonstrates the value of taking time to properly assess potential risks, to identify control measures and to act findings when issues are raised or warnings are given.”