Clitheroe firm must pay £10,000 after worker loses fingers in machine

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A CLITHEROE animal feed firm has appeared in court two years after a worker’s hand was trapped in machinery at its factory.

The 47-year-old worker, who has asked not to be named, lost two fingers on his left hand in the incident. His employer, Dugdale Nutrition Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive following the injury at Bellman Mill, on Salthill industrial estate, on June 9th, 2009.

Accrington Magistrates’ Court heard the worker had been trying to remove a blockage on the third floor of the factory when the machine was switched on by a worker in the control room on the ground floor.

The resulting HSE investigation found the injured worker had been able to gain access to a “chain and flight conveyor” – used to transport animal feed through the factory – as the guard over it was not fixed in place.

He had not used the isolator switch to cut the power to the machine as the switch was three metres above the ground and difficult to reach.

Dugdale Nutrition Ltd admitted two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £3,614 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, Managing Director Matthew Dugdale said: “On June 9th 2009, an accident involving a long-serving employee of Dugdale Nutrition occurred in the company’s production mill, resulting in a serious injury to the employee’s hand.

“The shareholders, board of directors, management team and all the staff at Dugdale Nutrition very much regret this accident led to this injury.

“The welfare and safety of the company’s staff has always been an utmost priority for Dugdale Nutrition and since the accident the team at Dugdale Nutrition have done everything within their power to help our colleague recover from his injuries and continue with his long career with the company.

“A root and branch review of all the company’s health and safety procedures, employing a specialist consultancy service, has been carried out following this incident in 2009 and our entire workforce is now focussed on endeavouring to prevent a repeat of this type and, indeed, another other type of accident, be that small or large.

“Dugdale Nutrition has a loyal, long-serving and mainly local workforce, and is very much a family firm in every sense of the word. Our staff do a tremendous job ensuring our farmer customers receive the best service and highest quality products at all times. This has been done for our 160-plus years history and our hope is we will continue to do so for at least as many more years in the future.”