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Country Style Foods fined after worker suffers serious hand injuries

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By Joe Whitworth+

Last updated on 19-Jun-2014 at 17:01 GMT

Country Style Foods has been fined after a worker suffered serious hand injuries due to ice not being cleared and making the floor slippery.

The 26-year-old man was clearing up after completing a job on a freezer at the UK-based firm when he slipped on the icy floor.

He put out his right hand to steady himself but 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.

Fined and order to pay costs

Country Style Foods was fined £8,500 and ordered to pay £794 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the relevant law.

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

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

The firm also has sites in Grimsby, Stockton, Peterlee and Flint making hot cross buns, muffins, cakes and cookies, fruit pies, desserts, doughnuts, bagels, soft rolls and part-baked breads.

Tony Wood from Country Style Foods said 'all the information is in the court documents' when asked for comment on the case.

Guard removed previously

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court was told this week 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.

Shuna Rank, HSE Inspector, said: “This incident was easily preventable had Country Style Foods ensured safety guards were in place on the machinery. The company should also have taken steps to prevent the accumulation of ice on the freezer floor.

“Guards and safety systems are there for a reason, and companies have a legal duty of care to ensure they are properly fitted and working effectively at all times.

“Slips and trips are the biggest cause of major injuries in the food and drink industry with 37% of all major accidents in the industry being as a result of slips.” 

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