Company is Fined after Worker had to have Leg Amputated

A company specialising in mushroom cultivation has been fined following an incident where an employee had his leg caught in a machine and subsequently had to undergo amputation.

Luka Ilic’s right leg became ensnared by the rotating blades of a mushroom filling machine on 16 October 2019, resulting in it being trapped in the moving parts of the device. He was part of a three-person team at Howden Enterprises Ltd, operating under the name Hughes Mushrooms, tasked with cleaning the machine at the company’s site in Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, East Yorkshire.

The then 29-year-old climbed onto the machine, used for preparing and filling compost into growing trays, to clear away the remaining compost. However, the machine was activated, causing Mr Ilic’s leg to be ensnared by the rotating blades in the mixing axle.

Subsequently, his leg had to be amputated below the knee at the hospital.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Howden Enterprises Ltd had failed to adequately assess the operation of the filling machine, particularly in terms of its cleaning process. The company neglected to ensure the presence of robust isolation procedures and safe operating practices.

Howden Enterprises Ltd, located on Trew Mount Road, Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, admitted guilt to violating Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company received a fine of £73,333.00 and was directed to pay £7,522.60 in costs at Hull and Holderness Magistrates Court on 10 April 2024.

HSE Inspector Louise Redgrove commented: “The significance of a comprehensive risk assessment that accurately reflects all practical activities cannot be overstated. It is crucial to ensure the presence of effective work systems and physical controls, which should be implemented, supervised, and utilised by all involved parties. This incident could have been easily prevented with the implementation of robust isolation procedures and individual padlocks for each worker involved.”