�10k fine for Fenland owned food manufacturer after cleaner lost fingers in machine

A FOOD manufacturer owned by a Fenland company has been fined after a cleaner lost two fingers in a potato processing machine.

The 38-year-old man was reaching an outlet pipe to remove a piece of raw potato at the Swancote Foods factory in Horton Wood, Telford, in February last year. He touched a rotating screw, which severed the first two fingers on his left hand.

Swancote is part of the Greenvale AP group of companies, based at Floods Ferry, Doddington, Cambridgeshire.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found the guard on the machine had not been maintained properly.

Swancote, which supplies cooked potato ingredients to manufacturers of prepared foods, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The company was fined �10,000 and ordered to pay �5,614 costs by Telford Magistrates’ Court.

The employee has returned to work at the factory, but to a different job and suffers restricted movement and reduced grip in his hand, which means that everyday tasks are difficult for him.

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Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Lyn Mizen said: “This was a very serious incident, which was entirely preventable. As a result of Swancote Foods’ failings, a man has suffered permanent, life-changing injuries to his hand.

“Companies must ensure that they have robust procedures in place to provide and maintain suitable, effective guarding.

“This case illustrates the consequences of failing to manage and control workplace risks adequately and HSE will not hesitate to hold companies to account for failing in their duties in such a way.”

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