A worker suffered ‘horrific’ injuries to his hand after it became trapped in unguarded machinery at a UK kebab manufacturer.
The kebab firm was fined £17,500 and ordered to pay costs of £7,500 for serious safety violations after the incident in February last year.
Chelmsford Crown Court was told last week that Ethem Torunoglu was cleaning a derinding machine when he noticed a piece of meat or sinew caught in a part called the stripper comb.
Hand drawn into machine
While the machine was running he tried to dislodge it with a pressure washer but when that failed he reached in. His hand was drawn into the machine between the stripper comb and the serrated roller above it.
Torunoglu grabbed his hand and called for help. He couldn't reach the stop button so the serrated roller continued to rotate over the back of his hand, grinding it away until a colleague came and turned off the machine.
He sustained significant injuries including losing the knuckles on his right hand, substantial damage to the tendons and veins and loss of flesh from his hand.
Kismet Kebabs, of Milton House, Maldon Road, Latchingdon, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
Torunoglu was in hospital for 19 days and underwent three operations to rebuild his knuckles and tendons, also having to have a large skin graft taken from his left thigh.
He has since had a further two operations and is awaiting plastic surgery but has been unable to return to work.
Failed by the company
Julie Rayner, HSE inspector, said: "Ethem Torunoglu was failed by the company's lack of proper training, inadequate assessment of risks, and lack of effective measures to stop access to dangerous parts of equipment.
"From Mr Torunoglu's point of view his life has been destroyed. He is unable to go back to work. He is unable to use his hand and only has about 10% range of movement in it,” she said.
"The risks of in-running trap points - where there is a gap sufficient for something such as fingers or other body parts to be drawn in - are well known in the food manufacturing industry and Kismet Kebabs Ltd should have put in place suitable measures to prevent this type of injury from occurring.”
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that despite the known risks of machine operators having their fingers or other body parts drawn into machinery, there was no interlock or tunnel guard on the machine preventing employees reaching the stripper comb or stopping the machine when it was in its open position for cleaning.
Training was inconsistent as employees had not been made aware of the risks and dangers which could occur during cleaning and the methods they should use to ensure they were not exposed to those risks.