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Firm fined after 16-year-old worker's finger amputated

29-06-2012

A West Midlands food production company has been fined after a 16-year-old worker had to have his finger amputated.

The teenager was clearing a blockage on a biscuit crumbing machine at Phoenix Brands Ltd. in Bilston on 25 November 2011.

He reached too far into the hopper and his right hand was pulled into a screw conveyor, a machine which uses a rotating screw blade to break biscuits as they travel up a tube.

He injured a number of fingers but his middle finger was so badly damaged it had to be amputated.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) brought a prosecution against the firm after its investigation found that both the hopper and the screw conveyor were unguarded, and had been since the machine was bought several years earlier.

Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court was told that the worker, who is now 17, left the company following the incident as it was only intended to be a part-time job until he started a college plumbing course. He missed two months of the course but has since made good progress and is catching up with his peers.

Phoenix Brands Limited, of the Atlas Trading Estate, Cross Street, Bilston, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Wolverhampton magistrates fined the company £7,000 with full costs of £4,000.

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