Food manufacturing company heavily fined after worker suffers injury

by Redmans Solicitors on August 20, 2013

A Suffolk food manufacturing firm has been heavily fined after a worker suffered serious injuries at work because of health and safety breaches.

Mr Attila Czege, 34, was working for Indo European Foods Ltd when the accident happened on 20 September 2012.

Mr Czege was working on a production line which was bagging rice when his arm became trapped and entangled in an unguarded conveyor belt. His right arm was pulled into the machine and was pulled through a heavy roller at the end of the conveyor, trapping and injuring his right arm. This resulted in Mr Czege fracturing his right arm in multiple places and having to undergo three surgeries in two weeks in order to repair the damage.

The subsequent Health and Safety Executive investigation found that the conveyor had been in the factory for a significant period of time without being properly maintained in order to prevent injury to workers. An example of this lack of maintenance found was the failure to install guards to prevent access to moving parts in the conveyor belt.

The case came to the Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on 20 August 2013. The court heard evidence from the Health and Safety Executive and from witnesses from the company. The company pleaded guilty at the hearing to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It was fined £16,000 by the Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay costs of £910.65 as well as a victim surcharge of £1,600.

It is not currently known whether Mr Czege has or will claim personal injury because of his accident.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented: “Companies have an obligation under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 to ensure that measures are undertaken to prevent access to dangerous parts of any machinery or stock bar or to prevent the movement of any dangerous part of any machinery or rotating stock bar before it becomes dangerous to any person. The Magistrates’ Court clearly felt in this instance that the company hadn’t complied with the substance of the regulations.”

HSE Inspector Saffron Turnell said after the judgment: “This incident could have easily been avoided as action to guard the machine adequately was quick and inexpensive. It is disappointing that Indo European Foods Ltd failed to satisfactorily heed the earlier advice of HSE. Instead, Mr Czege suffered a serious and painful injury which resulted in several months off work.”

Redmans Solicitors offer employment law advice and can help you claim personal injury

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