Weetabix fined over factory accident

Cereal maker Weetabix has been fined and companies warned to make sure machinery is guarded after a man lost his fingertips working at a factory in Kettering, UK.

The worker was trying to clear a rotary valve blockage while operating machinery at the factory. He was exposed to moving parts of the valve and caught his hand in the machine, consequently losing his fingertips.

Weetabix Ltd, of Burton Latimer near Kettering, pleaded guilty to breaching part of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment regulations.

These state every employer should make sure they take measures to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.

The company was fined £3,500 at Kettering Magistrates Court for the incident, which happened in August 2006.  It was also ordered to pay £1,490.40 in costs, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.

HSE inspector Peter Snelgrove today said: "This incident has resulted in a worker suffering a significant hand injury which could have been avoided.

"Weetabix should have ensured that machinery was adequately guarded. There is plenty of advice and guidance available to help employers meet their legal responsibilities and keep their workers safe."

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