Heinz fined for health and safety failures after worker loses a finger

The international food company Heinz has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and fined after an employee lost a finger in a workplace accident.
HJ Heinz Company Ltd was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £4,496.50 after an unnamed employee lost an index finger whilst operating industrial machinery at the company’s factory in Kitt Green, Wigan.
The incident occurred in April 2008, when a 65-year-old employee was making a new part for a packaging machine and was polishing it using an emery cloth and a metal-working machine. The employee’s gloved hand was dragged into the rotating machine and he lost his finger, as well as suffering nerve damage in two other fingers.
Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court heard that Heinz knew of the hazard of using emery cloths for this work yet failed to take steps to stop the accident from occurring. It was also claimed that although the injured employee had worked for Heinz for over twenty years, he had never received refresher health and safety training on the latest safe working practices.
Heinz pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations by failing to conduct a proper risk assessment for the work and for neglecting to give the employee the right health and safety training.