Huhtamaki UK found guilty in ‘spiked bike chain’ case

HSElogoRed300The UK division of the global packaging manufacturer Huhtamaki has been fined for safety failings after a long-serving worker lost a finger in an unguarded chain on a machine.

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


About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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