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Cargill fined £35,000 after employee loses three fingers

Food producer Cargill has been fined £35,000 after an an employee lost three fingers in machinery at a factory at Trafford Park.

The 46-year-old victim, who lives in Boothstown (Greater Manchester), was trying to clear a blockage in a wheat milling machine when the glove on his left hand was dragged in by a roller.

The incident happened in October 2010 and led to Cargill being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an investigation found a lockable plastic guard designed to prevent access to the rollers was rarely used.

Trafford magistrates heard the company's procedure for sampling flour required operators to put their hands under the rollers while they were still rotating.

HSE said it discovered another employee also suffered injuries in May 2009 when his right hand was drawn into the rollers on the machine at the same factory, which makes wheat products for fish foods and bakeries. He managed to pull out his hand but lost three nails and small fragments of bone from his fingers.

After the October 2010 incident, Cargill (Trafford Park site) fitted a large sheet over the rollers with a small gap where a scraper can be used to remove blockages.

The company admitted breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Act for failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery and failing to ensure the safety of staff.

In addition to its fine, Cargill was ordered to pay £12,484 in costs.

Source: HSE - November 2012