The 54-year-old from Gosport, who does not want to be named, severed the first finger on his right hand to the bone in the incident at Huhtamaki UK in Gosport a year ago. It was amputated the following day after surgeons were unable to save it.
Huhtamaki specialises in food and drink packaging and operates 60 manufacturing sites worldwide, including the Hampshire factory where the incident occurred. The UK operation was prosecuted yesterday by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that more could and should have been done to make the machine safe.
Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard the injured worker, who has worked for the company for 34 years, was part of a two-man team feeding plastic sheets into the machine after a product change.
As he worked from the side of the machine to feed a sheet onto a chain that would draw it inside – described as a spiked bicycle chain – his finger was caught between the chain and a roller.
HSE identified that had the feeding line been properly guarded to prevent access to dangerous parts then the incident could have been avoided.
The court was told that Huhtamaki UK failed to fully assess and identify the risks posed by the lack of guarding, and take appropriate action.
Huhtamaki UK was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £3,088 in costs.
Copyright Ken Hurst 2014