Home Brewing Kit Maker Fined after Employee Loses Hand

A home brewing kit manufacturer based in Ellesmere Port has been fined after one of its employees lost a hand when cleaning a blending machine.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted SPL International Ltd after the incident at Poole Hall Industrial Estate in Ellesmere Port on October 21, 2014.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how the injuries sustained by the worker led to his right hand below the thumb and fingers being severed and he has since been unable to return to work.

On the day that the incident occurred, the employee was asked by his supervisor to carry out a task that he had done before – cleaning the ‘Ritchie blender’, a Kek Gardner horizontal cantilever mixer.

He turned the blender off at the mains before cleaning and drying the inside of the blender and then turned the power back on.

However, sometime after water was seen dripping from the rim of the outlet hole underneath and as he attempted to dry the rim he placed his hand into the access hole which made contact with the blades. With the machine still running, there was nothing in place in the machine to prevent his hand from making contact with the blades.

SPL International Ltd, of Poole Hall Industrial Estate, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 as the firm had failed to carry out a risk assessment relating to the risks associated with the cleaning of the blender.

As a result of the incident, the company was hit with an £8,000 fine and ordered to pay just over £7,000 in prosecution costs.

Jane Carroll, HSE Inspector, said after the hearing: “This case is a stark reminder of the consequences of a failure to adequately guard machinery and implement safe systems of work for cleaning and maintenance activities.”


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