Ice cream firm sentenced after worker breaks bones at factory

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A NORTH Yorkshire ice cream manufacturer has been sentenced after a factory worker had his forearm broken when it got caught in a conveyor belt.

Sam Goodall, 20, of Northallerton, was working on the ice cream production line at R&R Ice Cream Ltd, in Leeming Bar, when his glove got caught and his arm drawn into an in-feed conveyor belt.

He managed to pull himself free, but suffered two broken bones in his right arm and a dislocated wrist. He was off work for six weeks.

The incident, on 8 August 2011, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, which prosecuted R&R Ice Cream for two safety breaches.

Northallerton Magistrates’ Court was told on Monday that the company had removed a part of the line leaving a gap in the side of the conveyor belt.

Mr Goodall was working the line and put his hand through the gap to retrieve some trapped lids. His glove became entangled and his arm was drawn into a dangerous moving part of the machine, which was inadequately guarded.

R&R Ice Cream UK Ltd, of Richmond House, Leeming Bar, was fined a total of £10,000 with £3,294 in costs after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and a second offence of contravening the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Kate Dixon said: “I am pleased that Mr Goodall has made a full recovery, but many other employees sustain permanent disability or impairment because machine safety has been neglected.

“Unguarded or poorly guarded machinery is the cause of many injuries in workplaces across the country. Employees should not be exposed to risks to their safety through their everyday work.

“R&R Ice Cream Ltd failed to make sure that the dangerous moving parts of the in-feed conveyor were not accessible by the workforce on the production line. This failure could have been addressed at minimal cost.

“They also failed re-assess the risk to workers after the change they made to the production line. Even temporary changes to machinery should be fully considered to make sure additional risks are identified and addressed.”

For advice on safe use of machinery, go to www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing