Date: 8 July 2013
Hall & Woodhouse Ltd, a Dorset brewery has been prosecuted for safety breaches and negligence after an employee lost two fingers in unguarded machinery.
The 32 year-old worker, who does not wish to be named, was trying to clear a blockage in a grain dust extractor at the Hall and Woodhouse brewery in Blandford during a night shift on 27 August 2012.
He reached into the chute of the extractor to dislodge the build-up, but his right hand made contact with the rotary valve, which was still running. His middle and index fingers were severed.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which today (8 July) prosecuted Hall & Woodhouse Ltd at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court for a breach of safety legislation.
In its new location, the operatives had been tasked with emptying the grain dust extractor when necessary.
HSE found Hall and Woodhouse had failed to identify the risks associated with the grain dust extractor in its new location. It was foreseeable that employees would try to deal with a blockage if one occurred and an alternative system should have been provided to prevent access by workers to dangerous moving parts.
Hall & Woodhouse Ltd. of The Brewery, Blandford St Mary, Dorset, 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.
Plus Safety Comment: Is it not conceivable that if a blockage occurred the conscientious employee would try to unblock it, and if there was no specific implement to do this then he would improvise and use his hand! Once again this is not rocket science. The cost of this one accident would have (three times) covered the cost of installing a proper H&S management system to prevent incidents like this happening not only to this poor chap but everyone else, and to ensure the company fulfilled all of its H&S duties. Is it really too much to pay?