An international company that supplies food to all major UK supermarkets has been fined after a worker’s hand was crushed in machinery.

Bakkavör Foods Ltd, which operates three subsidiaries in the UK, was fined £3000 and ordered to pay full costs of £2000 at Grantham Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 11(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The employee had his hand crushed at Bakkavör’s Bourne Salads factory in Bourne on August 24th 2008 whilst assisting colleagues in clearing a blockage in a cabbage washing line.

The employee reached into the screw conveyor, which is used to shred the cabbage, to try to remove several cabbages blocking the machine.

Although the machine had a guard to prevent anyone reaching the screw conveyor, it had been disabled to allow the machine to run without it. Unfortunately, the machine had not been properly isolated and when the blockage was cleared, it started up again crushing the man’s hand.

Bakkavör’s head office is in Reykjavik, Iceland. Employing 2500 people in the UK, it counts Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Somerfield and Waitrose among its customers.  

HSE Inspector Jo Anderson said:

“Bakkavor is a huge company which employs 20,000 worldwide and 2500 in the UK alone. It is often assumed companies of this size adhere to health and safety policies at all times.

“In this instance, Bakkavor failed to efficiently maintain the protective guards in place to prevent employees accessing dangerous parts of the factory’s machinery.

“The employee suffered the injury whilst working a night shift and this unfortunate incident sends out a clear message on the importance of companies maintaining the same standard of care to employees on a night shift as on a day shift.”