Pauls Malt fined after worker lost leg in silo accident
The country's largest malt supplier has been fined after one of its workers lost a leg when he became trapped in a silo with 250,000 tonnes of grain.
The incident left maintenance engineer Derek Kinmond needing one leg amputated while his other leg was badly crushed under the moving grain sweeper.
At Perth Sheriff Court, Pauls Malt Ltd admitted breaching health and safety regulations at its Perthshire plant.
The company, which has since been taken over, was fined £8,000.
The court was told that Mr Kinmond, who was then 51, had gone into the silo at Sidlaw Grain Store in Burrelton to remove a blockage, but failed to switch off the power to the large sweeping auger.
He initially failed to remove the blockage but when it did clear both of his legs almost immediately became trapped and he was stuck with the weight of the grain on top of him.
The court was told that he managed to use his mobile phone to contact a colleague who switched off the auger but by then it was too late to save his leg.
Pauls Malt failed to meet failed to meet vital health and safety checks by letting Mr Kinmond sign himself into the giant silo, the court heard.
The Suffolk-based firm - which made £15m profit during 2010 - admitted breaching the rules between 13 June and 27 October 2008, when Mr Kinmond was severely injured.
Fiscal depute Sally Clark said Mr Kinmond, who had worked with the company for 14 years, thought he had slipped as he shovelled the barley to clear a blockage.
"He became entangled. His leg went forward and he was caught in the auger.
"His left leg had to be amputated just below the knee. His right leg was badly broken. He spent eight weeks in hospital as an in-patient," she said.
Solicitor Diane Turner, defending, said Mr Kinmond was normally a "diligent and competent" employee but had "taken a conscious decision to turn it on and enter with the auger running".
She said he could not really explain why he had done that, but said digging out the auger manually was an "arduous and laborious task".
Fining the company, Sheriff Lindsay Foulis said that he took account of the change of ownership and of the steps taken since to improve health and safety at the Perthshire storage plant.