Defective safety guard results in severed fingers and £787K fine

bigstock-Salmon-Fish-Factory-Processing-414498902Fish processing giant, Young's Seafood, has been fined for H&S failings after a worker lost their thumb and fingers in an accident involving machinery at the Grimsby plant. 

A 59-year-old worker was creating the mix for fish cakes, at the end of a mix run he went to clear the machine, lifting an interlocked guard that should have stopped the machine from running. He put his hand into the machine without realising it was still running and the augur caught his hand and drew his arm in up to the elbow. His thumb and two of his fingers were severed and he suffered serious tendon damage. 

An HSE investigation found that the machine continued to run when the safety guard was lifted and failed to respond when the emergency stop was pressed. The interlocking system was inadequate, and the company had failed to ensure that the machine was effectively maintained. The company has been fined £787,500 and ordered to pay £33,443.68 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Carol Downes commented: “The life changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented and the risk should have been identified.

“Being pro-active with preventative maintenance and good communication of faults can reduce the chance of harm.”

"This type of injury is entirely preventable with a robust pre-use safety inspection process," commented Russell Barnard, SG World Product Manager. "A pre-use inspection for this type of equipment would include a check that the safety guard was in place and operational and flag the machinery as being unsafe to use." 

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