Pecan Deluxe Candy fined after worker loses thumb
Maria Pirie, 46, was cleaning the machine at the site in Leeds for the first time by herself and was not fully trained at the time of the incident on 25 January 2013.
Her left thumb was sliced off by as the stirrer moved, trapping her thumb between the vessel.
The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fined Pecan Deluxe Candy £7,000 ($10,600) and ordered it to pay £627 ($948) in costs following a hearing at Leeds Magistrates court. The court heard that the incident could have been prevented had a simple interlocked guard been fitted.
The worker’s thumb has been surgically reattached but will never function as before.
HSE: Incident could have been avoided
HSE inspector Rachel Brittain said: “This incident need not, and should not, have happened. The company could easily have prevented access to the dangerous parts of the chocolate hopper by making sure it was effectively guarded. It did not and Ms Pirie has suffered a painful and lasting injury as a result.
“Preventing workers from getting too close to moving parts of machinery is vital. Pecan Deluxe Candy had subject to an enforcement notice on guarding before this incident but obviously didn’t sustain the improvements required.
“Too many are injured, limbs are lost and even fatalities can and do happen because employers fail to guard machinery adequately. Employees must also be well trained and supervised.”
Pecan Deluxe Candy admitted to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. the firm had been served with an Improvement Notice by HSE in January 2012 regarding the guarding of mixers after an inspection.