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A machinery manufacturing firm in Derby has been sentenced at a court after an Essex-based worker's finger was badly crushed in an unguarded piece of equipment.
Benjamin Tracey, 32, of Braintree, was conducting his daily duties, which involved cleaning blockages in industrial machines that are designed to form, fill and seal plastics, at a food manufacturing centre in Halstead, Essex.
Chelmsford Magistrates' Court heard that Mr Tracey had seen a number of plastic bags get caught in the heated jaws of the equipment and he put his arm inside it in an attempt to free up the device for further use.
When this didn't work he halted the machine, which stopped the heated jaws, but did not completely deactivate it.
As he reached to grab the plastic bags, one of the crushing implements in the device came down on one of his fingers and he suffered a fracture to the bone and cuts.
When Mr Tracey was rushed to hospital, doctors told him that immediate surgery had to take place in order to avoid the top of his digit from being amputated, but thankfully the procedure went well and he has gone on to make a reasonable recovery.
A subsequent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the machine had not been fitted with enough safeguards to prevent access to moving parts and this put workers at risk of serious harm.
Line Equipment of Derby, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,330.20 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 7(2)(a) of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008.
After the case, HSE inspector Paul Grover, said: "This was a common, entirely foreseeable and preventable incident on this type of machine.
"The safety standards for these types of machines are widely understood and their importance in safeguarding what can otherwise be a hazardous form of machinery was well known to Line Equipment."
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