Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Veetee Rice fined again because of overridden interlock.

Veetee Rice of Rochester was fined £35,000 (inc. costs) on 27 May 2014 after worker was injured due to overridden guard interlock.
The circumstances were:
  • The machine attached labels to packets of rice.
  • An interlock on a guard on the conveyor rollers and labeller had been deliberately defeated.
  • On 27 March 2012, when the machine failed to stick a label to a box, it ended up on one of the unguarded rollers. 
  • A worker, Khalil Ahmed tried to pull it off but his right hand became trapped, injuring three fingers.
  • In November 2009, the company was fined £140,000 for similar failings relating to unguarded machinery that led to the death of one of its employees.

The HSE Inspector said:
“Mr Ahmed was fortunate he was not more seriously injured and suffered no long term affects. It was an entirely preventable incident. The risks of production machinery are well recognised in the industry and Veetee Rice Ltd should have ensured that all machinery guarding mechanisms were not just in place but functioning properly. Veetee Rice Ltd was sentenced for an offence brought under the same Regulations just three years earlier, for a 2006 fatality of one of their staff, and patently did not sufficiently learn from that experience and the lessons it offered. Food production has one of the worst safety records within the manufacturing sector. Guards are critically-important elements and they can and do save injury and even life when working as they are intended.”

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