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Food Firm in Court over Worker’s Hand Injury

A leading Scottish food manufacturer has been fined for serious safety failings after a worker was injured when his hand was caught between a conveyor belt and roller.

Kayode Ezekiel Ogundele was working on a newly-installed line as a general operative carrying out a range of tasks, including removing the cases of product, when his hand was drawn into the gap between the moving conveyor and a newly-installed roller.

Unable to remove his hand or stop the conveyor, a passing forklift truck driver came to Mr Ogundele assistance, but he had suffered lacerations and open wounds to three fingers on his hand. He was off work for a month and still suffers pain in his hand and no longer has full movement.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found that while the company had assessed some of the risks of the new line, it had failed to identify the need for further assessments once it had been fully installed.

Elgin Sheriff Court was told that although Mr Ogundele was given a basic induction and health and safety briefing when he started work he had not been instructed on the specific machinery he was operating. The task of picking up cases meant staff got closer to dangerous parts of the machine – where the conveyor and roller came together. The risk was increased by the fact that the danger area could be obscured by the item being lifted.

Following the incident a tunnel guard was fitted along with pop-up rollers, and a full assessment of risks of the line was carried out, which identified other potential nip points where additional guarding was required.

The company was fined a total of £6000 after pleading guilty to an offence of breaching Regulations 11(1) and 11(2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

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