Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Vitacress fined £61,000 for accident allowed by modified guards

Vitacress Salads Limited, who grow and package salads were fined £61,088 (inc.costs) after an employee lost the tips of two fingers in a bagging machine.
The circumstances were:
  • The bagging machine had a hole cut in the guards to allow larger bags of salad out of the machine on a conveyor. 
  • This also meant that access to the heat sealing and cutting jaws was possible.
  • On 21 April 2015 the operator of the bagging machine had reached under the guard to pull film through the machine. 
  • The heat sealing and cutting jaws of the machine closed on his fingers. 
  • His left middle and ring fingers had the tips amputated.

The HSE inspector said:
“Cutting a hole in the guards led to access to dangerous parts being possible. The company had not properly considered the risks from making this alteration.”
SSS comment:
If you need a larger hole in a guard for larger product, then you need a "tunnel" on the guard so it is still not possible to reach the danger zone.

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