Confectionery manufacturer fined after worker’s finger severed

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Tangerine confectionery Machine

A UK confectionery manufacturer has been fined after part of a worker’s finger was cut off by a sweet making machine.

The firm, Tangerine Confectionery, was fined £3,400 and ordered to pay £4,568 in prosecution costs following the incident at its Clifton Road site in Blackpool, England.

An investigation by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the employee was trying to remove a blockage in one of the sweet making machines when his left hand was pulled in, severing his index finger to the top knuckle. It found the worker had been able to reach the rotating parts in the machine while the power was still on.

At Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on 10 August 2011, Tangerine Confectionery pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 as it had failed to make sure the machine stopped operating when the guard was not in place.

No guard in place

Speaking after the hearing, the investigating inspector at HSE, Anthony Banks, said: “This incident has resulted in a worker suffering a permanent injury but it should simply never have been allowed to happen. The risk of injury from these types of machines is well known in the industry and Tangerine Confectionery has since installed a new guard over the machine which cuts the power as soon as it is lifted.

“If this guard had been in place at the time of the incident then one of the company’s employees would not have lost part of his index finger.”

The incident

The 25-year-old was operating the machine on the morning of 8 September 2008 when it became blocked. He removed the guard to clear the blockage when the rotating wheels that flatten the sweet mixture caught his hand. Doctors were unable to reattach the end of his finger due to the crushed nerves, and he needed five months off work to recover.

Tangerine Confectionery was prosecuted following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident.

Saddened

In a statement, Tangerine Confectionery said: “We were saddened by the injuries sustained by one of our employees, Mr Gaweda, and the company has taken steps to prevent a similar accident recurring. We remain committed to maintaining and investing in the highest possible safety standards and take our health and safety responsibilities extremely seriously.”

As the UK’s largest sugar confectionery and branded popcorn manufacturer, Tangerine Confectionery turned over almost £160m last year. It operates seven factories across the UK and its brands include Butterkist popcorn, Barratt Sherbet Fountain and Dip Dabs, Henry Goode’s soft eating liquorice and Princess Marshmallows. Last month Blackstone - which owns United Biscuits - took over from Growth Capital Partners (GDP) as the firm’s financial partner.

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