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Potato firm fined by HSE after employee loses fingers

Posted: June 8th, 2011 by Dermot comment-icon Comments disabled

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted a cooked potato company in Telford for health and safety breaches after a worker lost two fingers in a machine.

Swancotes Foods was fined £10,000 over the incident, in which a 38-year-old cleaner working at the plant last February lost two of his fingers whilst reaching into a machine to remove some raw potato. Telford Magistrates Court heard that the guards on the potato processing machine had not been properly maintained, and that it was this that caused the accident.

Had the firm ensured that proper health and safety training was undertaken by all employees at the Swancotes Foods factory, the incident may never have occurred.

For breaching health and safety rules and causing an employee to be injured, Swancotes Foods was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £5,614.

Commenting after the verdict, HSE inspector Liz Mizen said:

“This was a very serious incident, which was entirely preventable. As a result of Swancote Foods’ failings, a man has suffered permanent, life-changing injuries to his hand.

“Companies must ensure they have robust procedures in place to provide and maintain suitable, effective guarding.”

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