Worker’s floor slip led to serious injuries and the loss of fingertips

June 17, 2014

A Leeds-based company represented by Michael Lavery from Exchange Chambers has been sentenced after a worker suffered serious injuries to his hand when it came into contact with the drive chain of a conveyor at a Newcastle factory.

The 26-year-old, of Longbenton, Newcastle, was clearing up after completing a job on a freezer at Country Style Foods Ltd when he slipped on the icy floor. He instinctively put out his right hand to steady himself but as he did so it struck the drive chain of a moving conveyor, taking the tips off two of his fingers down to the first joint, and injuring a third.

He was off work for four weeks but has since been able to return to work.

The employee was working as a contract electrician at Country Style’s premises in Benton Lane, where they make baguettes, when the incident happened on 30 August 2013.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court was told that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the safety guard had been removed from the machine some time previously, which meant that workers were not protected from dangerous moving parts.

The court heard that there had been an accumulation of ice on the floor due to a problem with the freezer doors. The ice had not been cleared so the floor was very slippery.

Country Style Foods Ltd, of Pontefract Lane, Leeds, was fined £8,500 and ordered to pay £794 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Michael Lavery told the Court that the £100 million turnover business had taken steps to remove the risk of repetition by increased training, better systems and improved risk assessments. The HSE agreed that the risk had been removed and that the Company had invested heavily in health and safety and their employees.