A chocolate company has been fined after an employee suffered life-changing injuries at its factory in Newcastle upon Tyne. The incident happened on November 30, 2020 when the man was drawn into a roller mechanism on a conveyor machine.
South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how the maintenance technician was investigating a problem on the conveyor belt of a machine used to make chocolate sweets. While checking the machine, his sleeve was caught in a roller, which dragged his left arm into the machine, trapping it between the roller and a conveyor belt.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident at the factory on Rowan Drive, Fawdon, Newcastle upon Tyne found that the company had not properly assessed the risk created by the rollers under the conveyor belt and failed to guard the roller, which was a dangerous part. It was foreseeable that employees would require access to this area and there was a clear risk of injury to employees coming into contact with this roller. The company had previously been prosecuted following a similar incident at its Halifax factory.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £800,000, ordered to pay costs of £7776.50 and a victim surcharge of £190 at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on October 19.
After the hearing, HSE inspector William Gilroy said: “This incident could easily have been avoided had the company properly reviewed the safety measures at its plant and its equipment to ensure that access to dangerous parts was prevented. They were aware of this risk following a similar incident at its Halifax plant but failed to take appropriate action.”
Source – HSE