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Crisp Manufacturer Fined After Worker Loses Thumb In Accident

Sirhowy Valley Foods has been ordered to pay a fine after a worker lost his thumb in an accident.

Brian Griffith lost his right thumb in a machinery accident on 5 December 2011.

Cwnbran Magistrates’ Court was told that Mr Griffith was clearing a blockage from one of the potato sorting machines when the accident occurred.

According to an investigation carried out by the HSE, it has been revealed that the victim was wearing gloves as he tried to clear the blockage.  In addition the machine he was working on was unguarded whilst it was running.  His gloves got caught in the moving rollers and this caused severe injury on his right thumb.

The court was told that the company procedure to clear blockages was to make use of long-handled poles.  However, this safe system of clearing blockages was not always followed.  Workers would often use their hands to get the work done quickly.

The foods company was fined £8,000 with an additional £6,914 in costs after admitting to breaching Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

After the hearing, the Health and Safety Executive Inspector said that this accident was very much preventable if there was a safe system of work in place and if the machinery was adequately guarded.