A Dorset brewer has been prosecuted for health and safety breaches after one of its employees lost two fingers in unguarded machinery. The 32 year old individual did not wish to be named but the incident occurred during the night shift on august 27th, The individual in question was trying to clear out a blockage in the grain dust extractor at the Hall and Woodhouse brewery when the incident occurred.
He reached in to the extractor to dislodge a a blockage when he inadvertently hit the rotary valve, which was running for some unknown reason. He lost his middle and index fingers and after five operation was only recently able to return to work.
This incident naturally lead to a investigation by the health and safety executive, they decided to prosecute after they found the brewer had failed to adequately protect its staff. The brewer was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Fiona Coffey said:
”An employee has suffered painful and needless injuries because of the failure by Hall & Woodhouse Ltd. to put simple safety measures in place. This was an incident that could have easily been prevented by carrying out a suitable assessment of the risks presented by the new location of the extractor. This would have identified the need for guarding to prevent access to the dangerous rotary valve within the chute.
“The company should also have provided employees with information and instruction on how they wished potential blockages within the extractor to be dealt with. In the absence of these measures, an employee has suffered a serious injury.”