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Salad company fined after worker amputation

08 February 2016

Vitacress Salads has been fined £60,000 after an employee lost the tips of two fingers in a packaging machine. 

Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard how the operator of the bagging machine had reached under the guard to pull film through the machine. 

The heat sealing and cutting jaws of the machine closed on his fingers. His left middle and ring fingers had the tips amputated.

The case was brought after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident, which occurred on April 21, 2015. 

The HSE found that the bagging machine had a hole cut in the interlocked guards to allow larger bags of salad out of the machine on a conveyor. This also meant that access to the heat sealing and cutting jaws was possible.

“Cutting a hole in the guards led to access to dangerous parts being possible,” said HSE inspector Kate Clark. 

“The company had not properly considered the risks from making this alteration.”

The Hampshire-based salad bagging company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), and was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,088.

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