Partners fined after farm worker drawn into rollers of potato grading machine

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Two partners in a farming company have been fined after an employee received serious injuries when his arm was drawn into the rollers of a potato grading machine.

Lincoln Magistrates Court heard today how, on 21 October 2016, an employee of Leverton Brothers was cleaning and emptying a potato grading machine when his right arm was drawn into the unguarded contra-rotating haulm rollers.

In order to check that the grader was emptying, he climbed onto the side of the grader and reached across in an attempt to move the remaining potatoes. His glove was caught by the rollers, drawing his arm in and it took 45 minutes to release him.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified that a safe stop procedure could have been followed, and that the contra-rotating rollers should have been guarded. 

David and Philip Leverton pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and Regulation 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. They were each fined £5,000 and each ordered to pay costs of £892.10

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Martin Giles said: “This injury could have been easily prevented and the risk should have been identified. Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”