UK confectionery maker penalised over worker injury

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Occupational safety and health

UK manufacturer Magna Specialist Confectioners has been fined £75,000 for breaching equipment regulations after a worker suffered serious head injury when completing maintenance on machinery.

The company was also ordered to pay costs of £37,500 by Shrewsbury Crown Court on 10 May following a prosecution by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Magna had already pleaded guilty last December to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The incident occurred when the employee was attempting to clean up a refrigerant leak inside the doors of a machine at Magna's production site in Telford near Birmingham in February 2007.

The court heard how a powered part of the machine moved to one side while the man's head was inside, closing the gap to about 5cm but fortunately throwing him out at the same time.

The worker was left in a coma for two weeks and has suffered substantial losses to his senses of sight, hearing, taste and smell as a result of the one-tonne blow to his head.

Confectionerynews.com sought comment from the manufacturer in relation to the sentencing but it was not forthcoming prior to publication.

A previous breach of the same regulation had already led to Magna being fined £25,000 over two years ago.

And, speaking after the case, HSE investigating inspector Guy Dale said that the fine imposed by the Crown Court reflects that there was a previous history cataloguing systemic machinery guarding failures in the company and a lack of risk assessment leaving employees exposed to risk to their health and safety.

"An operative should not have been able to get to the dangerous parts of the machine while it was working at full production speed. When the interlocked doors were opened, the production line should have been designed to stop,”​ added the inspector.

Last month, another UK confectionery firm, Tangerine Confectionery, was fined £300,000 after it was deemed guilty following on from a worker fatality.

One of its workers died after falling into a sweet making machine in February 2008.

The manufacturer stressed that it is committed to maintaining strict health and safety standards in its plants following the issuing of a verdict by the Crown Court in Bournemouth.

It was found guilty of breaches under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and under Regulation 3 (1) (a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work law.

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