SPL International Ltd, a home brewing kit manufacturer has been fined after an employee’s right hand was severed while cleaning a blending machine. The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an incident on 21 October 2014.
On the day of the incident the employee was asked by his supervisor to clean the ‘Ritchie blender’, a Kek Gardner horizontal cantilever mixer, a job which he had done before. While attempting to dry the rim of the machine, the employees hand made contact with the blade whilst the machine was still running. Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that the worker’s injuries led to his right hand below the thumb and fingers being severed. He has been unable to return to work since.
The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £7,004.
Ways to minimise exposure to prosecution include:
- Ensure that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and safe system of work is put in place for the handling and cleaning of dangerous machinery.
- Ensure that the required protective guards are made available and its use enforced.
- All relevant members of the team must receive the necessary training in the risk assessment/safe system of work.
- Regular internal health and safety audits need to be conducted with immediate corrective action taken for any defects noted.
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