Corby chocolate firm fined £5k after worker lost finger

Ashbury Chocolates :Corby: Ashbury Chocolates Ltd,  Darwin Road,  Tuesday 18th June 2013
Ashbury Chocolates :Corby: Ashbury Chocolates Ltd, Darwin Road, Tuesday 18th June 2013
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Corby chocolate makers Ashbury Ltd have been fined £5,000 after a worker’s finger was severed while he cleaned a machine.

Joao Countinho was cleaning a depositor - a machine which pipes liquid chocolate into moulds – at the Darwin Road factory on February 29 last year when the accident happened.

The 41-year-old lost part of his index finger on his left hand.

Representatives from the firm appeared at Kettering Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday, June 18) where they pleaded guilty to a breach Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The firm was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,485.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the machine was only partially guarded as there was an interlocking guard at the top of the stirrer cavity but there was no protective device in place at the bottom, meaning Mr Countinho was able to reach in despite the fact the machine was running.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Michelle Morrison said: “This was a serious incident that could have easily been prevented. Ashbury Chocolates had a duty to ensure its employees were protected from the dangerous moving parts of its machines. It failed in that duty.

“The company has since installed a new guard to prevent a recurrence but it is a pity a man had to suffer a painful injury for that to happen.”