UK Government

Health and Safety Executive: Food company fined after worker’s fingertip was severed

Press Release   •   Dec 11, 2009 11:40 GMT

A food production company has today been fined £20,000 following an incident where a man had his fingertip severed at a factory in Southall.

The Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Noon Products Ltd, based in Thorpe Lea Road, Egham, Surrey.  The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Noon Products Ltd was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,491 at the City of London Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that on 17 February 2007, a worker was asked to repair a dough divider machine at the company’s Collett Way premises in Southall.  The employee had removed a guard and was cleaning the middle part of the machine with a screw driver and an air gun. As he put his right hand into the enclosed space, a dangerous part of the machine servered the tip of his right index finger.

The HSE investigation found that the machine was in a poor state of repair and crucial safety devices were broken or had been removed.  In particular, the display screen which provided safety information to the operator was illegible and critical safety switches were disconnected.

The company had already been served with an Improvement Notice for a separate incident, which should have alerted them to proper maintenance systems throughout the general workplace.

HSE Inspector, Neil Fry said:

"This worker suffered serious injuries because Noon Products Limited failed to protect its workers from harm. The company had a poor health and safety record at the time of the incident.

“This case stresses the need for employers to have safe systems of work in place so that guards and crucial safety devices are working properly to ensure that maintenance on dangerous machinery can be carried out safely."

Following the incident, Noon Products Ltd successfully undertook a collaborative project with HSE aimed at introducing a good health and safety management system and addressing cultural attitudes to health and safety within the organisation.  These new management systems have had a positive effect throughout the workplace.

COILDN/1012

Notes to editors

1. HSE is Britain’s national regulator for workplace safety and health. It aims to reduce injuries and illness in the workplace.

2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It
shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees”
3. HSE media releases can be found at www.hse.gov.uk

Contacts

NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department
ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk