CJ Wilbird Foods has been fined £50,000 after an employee suffered life changing injuries when his hand was trapped in an unguarded rotary valve.
On 25 July 2017, a production operative had to have three fingers amputated after sustaining injuries while operating a mixing extraction unit at the company’s site in Upton Magna, Shrewsbury.
The employee had been levelling out the waste dust that collected in a large bag located underneath a rotary valve on the mixing plant. He lost his balance and began to fall backwards into the bag. As he tried to steady himself his right hand came into contact with the moving parts of the rotary valve.
An HSE investigation found that a guard preventing access to the dangerous parts of the rotary valve had fallen off over time but had not been replaced. Following the purchase of the second-hand mixing extraction unit, no suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks arising from its had ever been made so the company failed to identify the risks from the dangerous parts.
C J Wildbird Foods Ltd, of The Rea, Upton Magna, Shrewsbury pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision of Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. In addition toi the fine of £50,000, it was ordered to pay costs of £5,508.61.
HSE Inspector Andrew Johnson said after the hearing: “This was an easily preventable incident which has had life changing consequences. It reminds us why there are long established and straightforward regulations requiring dutyholders who procure and use their work equipment to assess the risks and identify and put in place effective measures to prevent access to any dangerous moving parts.”