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Soup Company Sentenced over Worker’s Injuries

A well-known food manufacturer has been sentenced after a worker suffered severe leg and foot injuries while working on one of its production lines.

The company appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court after a Health and Safety Executive investigation found safety failings related to the incident.

Short term contract worker Jodie Cormack had climbed onto the conveyor belt to clear potatoes into the auger in-feed, but slipped from the belt into the collecting hopper.

His body was pulled into the auger and he was trapped for an hour while orthopaedic surgeons and other emergency services battled to free him. Once freed, he was flown by air ambulance to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness for emergency treatment.

His right foot was partially amputated and he underwent a number of operations including the insertion of a metal plate and screws. However, his left foot could not be saved and he underwent a below the knee amputation of his left leg. He now wears a prosthetic leg.

The court heard the company had failed to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which workers were exposed when they were engaged in the task of clearing vegetables from the conveyor belt. It also failed to reasonably provide and maintain the plant and a system of work for the task that was safe, and failed to provide such information, instruction, training and supervision as was necessary to ensure the health and safety at work of employees carrying out that the task.

The court also heard that the company was recently prosecuted for a previous accident in which a worker received hand injuries when his fingers were drawn between the rollers of a conveyor.

The company admitted breaching Section 2(1) and Section 33(1) (a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 at and was fined £60,000.

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