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Liverpool Magistrates Court heard how, on 13 September 2019, a production operative was involved in an accident involving a product transfer screw at the company’s Webber Estate site in Knowlsey.

While cleaning the device, the employee switched off the device at the control, but failed to disconnect the machine at the main electricity supply.

Severed fingers

As the operative went to replace the screw, the power was inadvertently been turned back on and the screw began to operate when it came into contact with the drive motor. This resulted in the severing of three fingers and part of the palm of the operative’s right hand, significantly changing the man’s life.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Applied Nutrition had no risk assessments or safe systems of work in place and that staff had not been provided with adequate training to make them aware of the dangers associated with the machinery being cleaned.

Had a risk assessment been performed, an industry standard lock off system at the power supply could have been installed preventing the incident.

Fine and costs

Applied Nutrition Ltd of 2 Acornfield Road, Knowsley Industrial Park, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £70,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,551.10.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Bellis said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided. Employers should carry out an assessment of the risks and put in safe system of works for the operation of all machinery, including tasks such as cleaning. Employers should also ensure that adequate information, instruction and training is provided to all who use it.”

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