A food processing factory in Nottinghamshire has received a £20,000 fine as a result of a “preventable” incident in which a worker’s arm was pulled into machinery and partially crushed.
Piotr Zielinski suffered skin and muscle loss when his right arm became entangled in poultry processing machinery while he was working at Belwood Foods’ facility located at Lowmoor Business Park in Kirkby-in-Ashfield in November 2019.
The injuries were so severe that Mr Zielinski had to undergo surgery.
Mr Zielinski, a 58-year-old resident of Nottinghamshire, was engaged in the task of removing debris that had become trapped on the hinges of an open access panel door at the base of a hopper machine.
The hopper door had been opened to facilitate the drainage of debris from the auger, which is a rotating metal screw.
However, the auger was still in operation as the debris was being cleared, and it captured Mr Zielinski’s arm, pulling it into the machine up to his elbow.
An inquiry conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) determined that the hopper’s access panel door could be opened freely while the auger was in motion, and there were no safeguards in place to prevent its opening.
Moreover, the door was not secured or interlocked, and there was no established safe isolation procedure for the weekly cleaning task.
Belwood Foods Limited, headquartered in Henley-on-Thames, admitted to violating Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
The company was fined £20,000 and was instructed to pay £7,839.21 in costs at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on October 9.
HSE inspector Lee Greatorex remarked, “This injury could have been easily avoided. Employers are responsible for thoroughly assessing the risks associated with all aspects of their operations, including cleaning and maintenance, and implementing effective control measures to reduce the risks associated with hazardous machinery parts. HSE will not hesitate to take action against companies that fail to do everything necessary to ensure people’s safety.”