The sixteen year old employee of a West Midlands-based food production firm suffered a serious personal injury at work to his hand, leading to substantial fine for the company, it was recently reported.
While the identity of the teenage worker cannot be made public due to legal concerns, personal injury solicitor experts recently said that Phoenix Brands Ltd, the young man’s employer, was called before Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court during a hearing to determine if the company violated health and safety regulations when the teenager injured his hand clearing a blockage on a biscuit crumbling machine located at the company’s Bilston plant. The unnamed worker sustained severe damage to his right hand upon reaching inside the machine, as a rotating blade within the machine, designed to break biscuits into smaller pieces as they progress up a tube, came into contact with his right hand.
According to medical reports, the damage done to the teenager’s hand was so severe that doctors had no choice but to perform an amputation of his middle finger. The severity of the incident prompted the Health and Safety Executive to investigate, with HSE inspectors discovering that there was inadequate guarding on the machine in question, thus permitting workers to access dangerous moving parts of its mechanism while in operation.
As a result of the HSE’ successful prosecution of Phoenix Brands Ltd a Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court, the firm admitted breaching health and safety regulations. The company was given a fine of £7,000 and also told to pay a sum of £4,000 in additional court costs for the part they played in the loss of the teenage worker’s finger.
Much like many other industrial and manufacturing accidents, this incident could have been completely avoided if the firm had simply performed an adequate risk assessment on the machine one HSE inspector remarked after the court’s decision.