Winfresh (UK) Ltd fined for repeated safety failings
In October 2013 Winfresh (UK) Ltd, a fruit importer and distributor, was fined by Chelmsford Magistrates' Court for repeated safety failings following three separate incidents in which workers were injured after becoming trapped in machinery.
Two agency workers and an employee, who was a maintenance engineer, were all working at its processing plant in Essex when the incidents happened.
The most recent incident at the plant in Great Dunmow took place on 25 August 2012 when a female agency worker was cleaning the underside of a conveyor on a production line.The woman's gloved hand was drawn into the drive shaft and became trapped between rollers. She sustained crush injuries and severe bruising to her hand and wrist and was off work for almost three weeks.
Following the incident, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed there had been two earlier incidents at the plant involving workers' hands becoming entangled in machinery and the company was prosecuted for repeated safety failings.
The previous incidents included an agency worker who lost part of a finger after it became entangled in an unguarded drive chain and a employee who suffered from a fracture and tissue damage after his forefinger become 'wrapped around the revolving drive shaft'. Both were off work for two to three months. The court heard all three workers had made a full recovery.
HSE found that although the first incident had clearly indicated that guarding standards were inadequate, Winfresh (UK) Ltd had failed to carry out a sufficient risk assessment. Although some guards were then installed around the drive chains, the drive belts were left unenclosed and accessible.
HSE said the maintenance engineer lacked sufficient training and had been left to work without supervision and proper instruction on isolation and safe working procedures.
Winfresh (UK) Ltd, registered at Old Bond Street, London, was fined a total of £32,000 and ordered to pay £771.50 costs after pleading guilty to three offences: one breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and two breaches of the Provision and Use of Equipment Regulations 1998.
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