Solicitors in Essex

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Nestlé fined after employee encountered accident with machinery

An employee of Nestlé UK Ltd suffered injuries after being dragged into one of their machines on 13 February 2016. The company was subsequently sentenced for breaching health and safety regulations.

Bradford Crown Court heard that while observing the operation of the After Eight production machine at the company’s Albion Mills site in Halifax, the technical operator placed his right hand close to a gap in the machine housing. The emery cloth he was holding in his right hand then got dragged, along with his arm, into the machine.

The employee was unable to reach any of the emergency stop buttons, which are located around the machine, from the position in which he was trapped. He was released from the machine by the paramedics, once they arrived at the scene.

Unfortunately, the employee suffered from a double compound fracture to his arm, which needed surgery.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Nestlé failed to prevent access to dangerous moving parts of the machine – which is known as an ‘in-running nip’. After conducting an investigation, it was found that there was a large enough gap to enable access at a belt conveyor entry on the After Eight line.

Therefore, Nestle UK Ltd of City Place Gatwick pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and received a fine of £640,000. They also had to pay £26,234 in costs.

Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers and a Health and Safety expert, said: “The failure to ensure that the equipment was suitable for use has led to this avoidable incident.

“If you are concerned about your businesses’ safety obligations, then it is important that you seek specialist advice at the earliest convenience.”

For help and guidance on all aspects of Health and Safety Law, including putting in place strategies to protect your workforce, please contact our expert team today.