Cheshire ice cream firm fined after worker loses finger

Drumlan Hall Farm Image copyright Google
Image caption The victim assumed the machine was switched off, the Health and Safety Executive said

An ice cream firm has been fined £7,500 after part of a worker's finger was cut off while cleaning a machine.

The 60-year-old employee, who does not want to be named, had her left index finger sliced off below the knuckle at Drumlan Hall Farm, Tattenhall in 2013.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said she had been cleaning the machine as requested, unaware it was turned on.

Tattenhall Dairy Products Ltd, which makes Cheshire Farm Ice Cream, admitted two safety failings over the incident.

'Almost inevitable'

It was also ordered to pay costs of more than £11,000 at Chester Magistrates' Court for breaches of the Provision and Use of Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The HSE said the fruit feeder machine attachment had to be cleaned regularly to make ice cream.

It was done by removing the chute which fed in the fruit. This exposed dangerous moving parts.

The HSE said the victim had assumed the machine was switched off on 8 August 2013 and her finger became caught in rotating blades when she tried to remove cookies.

An investigation found that while staff had been told to switch the machine off during cleaning, there were no other measures in place.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Lorna Sherlock said it was "almost inevitable" an employee would forget at some point to check it was switched off and it should have had suitable guarding or, as a minimum, a robust safety system in place.

The company has since installed an interlocking device on the machine so power is automatically cut off when the chute is removed.

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