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Frozen food company fined after employee loses fingers

A frozen food company has been fined £700,000 after an employee lost two of his fingers following an incident at the firm’s premises in Lincolnshire.


Tom Matthews, from Grantham, now champions health and safety in his current job at a different company, warning others to avoid his misfortune. He had been working a night shift at McCain Foods’ site in Easton on 2 September 2019 when he suffered serious injuries to his left hand.


While cleaning the company’s batter system machinery, the 33-year-old had attempted to remove string dangling from a chute when his left hand was drawn in and contacted the machine’s rotary valve. The index and middle finger were later amputated as a result of the incident.


A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that McCain Foods had failed to provide appropriate guarding to prevent access to the dangerous parts of machinery, namely the rotary valve. It had not conducted an adequate risk assessment of the batter machine and had not provided employees with adequate health and safety training or supervision.


McCain Foods (G.B.) Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Section 11(1) of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER). The company was fined £700,000 and ordered to pay £6,508.51 in costs at Magistrates’ Court in November 2023.


Every employer has a duty to manage the health and safety of those they employ or those who may be affected by their undertakings. Ensure risks are assessed, and take action where it has been identified that control measures are needed. If you require health and safety training, feel free to get in contact: 01782 438813 hello@youcandoit.training www.youcandoit.training

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