A woman working for McVities United Biscuits lost two fingers in an accident last month. She was attempting to clear a blockage in an industrial sized mixer that’s used to combine ingredients for their flapjack mix.
The Health and Safety Executive has launched an investigation into this tragic accident and McVities has been fined £10,000. The identity of the woman involved has still not been released.
During the investigation, HSE discovered that the female employee had to climb a two metre step ladder in order to reach the flapjack machine and empty its contents. Though the industrial sized mixer had stopped, the blades inside were still rotating when she reached in. This explains how her fingers were severed even though the machine had been turned off.
The company has pleaded guilty of breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. In addition to the £10,000 fine, McVities must also pay £2,889 in costs. The case was heard by Halifax Magistrates Court.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Rachel Brittain was quoted as saying:
“An incident like this should not happen in any company, but taking place in such a large scale food manufacturer such as this is absolutely unacceptable.
“Preventing access to moving parts and fitting guards is an elementary and essential precautionary measure and inexpensive. By not putting these measures in place United Biscuits failed to fulfill its duty of care to its employees.”