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An employee of a Devon based animal feed manufacturer suffered life-changing injuries after his hand was crushed in a pellet press.
On 10 February 2017, 39-year-old Ross Standen from South Molton was attempting to unblock the feed pellet press, which had been switched off, when the machine started up randomly. Mr Standen’s hand was caught in the machine, resulting in horrific injuries to his thumb and tendons in his index finger. Following multiple operations, which included the removal of bone fragments and skin grafts from his leg, his thumb was amputated. The HSE reports that Mr Standen relives the trauma in regular flashbacks and has suffered from insomnia and Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the incident.
The HSE’s investigation found that there was no lock off procedure or way to isolate the machine at the time of the incident.
Aylescott Feeds and Driers Ltd of Burrington, Umberleigh in Devon pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £14,933 and ordered to pay costs of £2,500.
HSE inspector Melissa Lai-Hung commented: “This injury was completely avoidable, and the risk should have been identified. It is heart-breaking that this incident has had devastating consequences. The physical damage has meant Ross hasn’t been able to enjoy activities with his son such as cycling and gaming due to the loss of his thumb.
“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by Mr Standen could have been prevented.”
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