​McCain Faces £700,000 Fine After Employee Loses Fingers

​McCain Faces £700,000 Fine After Employee Loses Fingers

Posted by Emily on 27th Nov 2023

In a regrettable incident at their Lincolnshire facility, frozen potato industry leader McCain has been fined £700,000. The incident occurred on September 2nd, 2019, when Tom Matthews, a dedicated worker from Grantham, suffered severe injuries to his left hand while on a night shift at McCain Foods' Easton site. Matthews, attempting to address an issue with the company's batter system machinery, had his left hand drawn into the machine's rotary valve when he tried to remove dangling string. As a result, he lost his index and middle fingers.

McCain reclamekaravaan (Tour de France) (22745264107) www.snack-nieuws.nl, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Matthews shared his ordeal, saying, "The past four years have been physically and mentally challenging. I continue to experience circulation problems in my left hand due to an incident that should never have occurred." Now employed elsewhere, Matthews actively promotes health and safety in his current role, hoping that his story serves as a cautionary tale and prevents such incidents from happening again.

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was revealed that McCain Foods had failed to implement proper guarding measures to prevent access to hazardous machinery components, including the rotary valve. Furthermore, the company neglected to conduct a thorough risk assessment of the batter machine and did not provide adequate health and safety training or supervision to its employees.

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During a court appearance at Lincoln Magistrates' Court on November 22nd, McCain admitted to breaching health and safety regulations. A McCain spokesperson emphasized the company's commitment to employee safety, stating, "We take the health and safety of our colleagues extremely seriously and have fully cooperated at all stages of this case. Since the incident in 2019, we have significantly enhanced our machinery safety measures, with no employee safety incidents reported across our six UK sites in the past year. We sincerely regret this incident and extend our apologies to Tom Matthews and his family."

HSE inspector Muir Finlay commented on the incident, noting that it could have been easily prevented with proper safety precautions and training. He emphasized that companies and individuals should be aware that HSE will take appropriate enforcement action against those failing to meet safety standards.

We invite you to share your thoughts on this incident in the comments below, and let us know how you think workplace safety can be improved to prevent such unfortunate incidents in the future.

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