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Dairy firm fined £32,000 after yoghurt machine part crushed worker's toe

PUBLISHED: 05:30 11 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:50 11 November 2018

Chelmsford Magistrates' Court  Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Chelmsford Magistrates' Court Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

A Suffolk dairy company has been fined for breaching equipment regulations after an employee's toe was crushed by unguarded machinery.

Marybelle Pur Natur Limited was ordered to pay out almost £40,000, including the cost of prosecution for breaching regulations at the end of 2016.

The company, based in Walpole, near Halesworth, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, which states that every employer must ensure measures are taken to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery, and to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery before any part of a person enters a ‘danger zone’.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the incident took place on December 30, 2016, when a worker’s toe was crushed by an unguarded part of dairy machinery.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard how a fixed guard on the front of a yoghurt filling machine had been removed.

An employee stepped on the frame of the machine at the same time as a moving part descended crushing the employee’s right foot.

An investigation by the HSE found that a cable had been replaced on the machine a few days before the incident, but that it was the wrong size and protruded from the machine, so the guard could not be fully fixed into position.

In addition, due to setting-up problems, the guard was regularly being removed while the machine was in operation, the HSE determined.

Marybelle Pur Natur Limited was found to have failed to ensure access to dangerous parts of the machine was prevented.

The company was fined £32,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,767.09.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Saffron Turnell said: “Employers should ensure that effective control measures are taken to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery in all aspects of the use of that machine.

“In this case, particular attention was required following maintenance of the machine.

Marybelle Pur Natur Limited failed to effectively maintain the guarding of the machine, despite being aware of the risks it presented, and as a result, their employee has suffered a serious injury.”

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