Crisp manufacturer Tayto Group Ltd has been hit with a whopping £300,000 fine after a worker had the tops of three fingers sliced off by unguarded machinery.
The accident happened at Tayto's Corby factory when the agency worker's hand touched shears inside a machine while trying to clear a production line blockage. Three fingers were severed below the first knuckle.
The Health and Safety Executive investigation found that the machine guard was not in place at the time of the accident. Moreover, the company had no formal monitoring system to ensure that guards were fitted and secure.
Hands caught in machinery are among the commonest accidents in food and drink factories. The HSE prosecuted at least 10 such incidents during 2016 alone. So here's Phoenix Health and Safety's common-sense guide to keeping everyone's fingers and other important bits intact.
7 steps to machine safety
- Assess the risk. Know which parts of every machine are dangerous and accessible to workers. That means all moving parts that can trap, pull in or sever body parts.
- Fit guards to all these areas. Ensure that they are fixed securely with absolutely no gaps.
- Be sure that workers cannot remove guards unless maintenance requires it. Make replacing guarding an integral part of the maintenance procedure.
- Create a checking system, so you always know that each guard is in good condition. No rusting, weak spots, worn bolts or loose screws.
- Train workers to use and replace guards the right way. Provide written step-by-step instructions and responsible supervision if it's a complicated job.
- Explain clearly why guards are needed and how dangerous removing them will be.
- Put signs near every machine warning workers not to interfere with guards.