The food manufacturer Heinz has been fined more than £20,000 after an employee lost a finger working with industrial machinery in one of the company’s baked bean factories.
The employee, who has not been named but is believed to be 65 years old, was working at Heinz’s Kitt Green factory in Wigan in 2008 when the incident occurred. He was engaged in making a new metal component for a baked bean packaging machine when his gloved hand was pulled into a rotating metal-working machine. He subsequently lost his index finger and suffered nerve damage to two other fingers.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claimed in Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court that the hazard by which the employee lost his finger was well known by Heinz, but that the appropriate safety measures had not been taken by the company in advance.
Heinz pleaded guilty to breaching parts of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £20,000 plus £4,496 in court costs, which it is likely to pay using its employers’ liability insurance.