Worstead, 17 May-2014, The Guardian: Heinz has been fined £50,000 after a man had his hand sliced off by a potato peeling machine in one of its factories.
Alec Brackenbury, 49, from Bacton in Norfolk, was servicing the machine at the food company’s plant in Worstead last June when he suffered the injury which has left him unable to drive or work.
He was in hospital for two weeks and had eight separate operations on the stump. He is unable to drive, work or carry out many day-to-day activities.
On the first day of a maintenance shutdown he tried to reach a bolt which he had dropped. He turned off the peeler to put his hand into the pump below, but it went off and sliced through his wrist.
Heinz was fined £50,000 at Norwich crown court and ordered to pay £9,661 costs on Friday after pleading guilty to serious safety failings.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that although the pump appeared to be part of the peeler, it had its own power supply. This meant that Brackenbury believed he had disabled the pump along with the peeler.
An HSE inspector, Tony Brookes, said: “Alf Brackenbury suffered a horrific injury in an incident that was wholly avoidable.
“Mr Brackenbury was put at risk by Heinz Ltd’s inadequate assessment of risks and lack of effective measures to stop access to dangerous parts of equipment.
“It is the duty of the employer to ensure their employees and contractors can carry out their work safely. Sadly, in this case Heinz failed to protect Mr Brackenbury while he was contracted to carry out maintenance work at their Westwick plant and, as a result, he has suffered a life-changing injury.”