Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard how on February 11, 2019 a maintenance engineer was clearing rainwater in the pit when his gloved hand contacted the chain drive of a conveyor.
The chain dragged his fingers into the nip where the chain winds around a sprocket severing the ends of three fingers on his right hand, the court was told.
An investigation by the UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to ensure the guard was on the chain drive. It had not been in place for some months and a further opportunity was subsequently missed to replace it following a breakdown repair, carried out on the conveyor five days prior to the incident, according to the workplace safety watchdog.
NWF Agriculture Ltd of Nantwich in Cheshire pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 11(1). The company was fined £100,000 (US$139K) and ordered to pay costs of £6,098.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector, Matthew Tinsley, commented: “This incident could so easily have been avoided had checks been carried out to ensure control measures were in place and safe working practices followed.
“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”