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Wrigley Fined For Worker's Injuries

Work Accident


Chewing gum manufacturer Wrigley has been fined £150,000 after an employee was seriously injured while cleaning machinery.

The prosecution follows an incident on January 3, 2007, when company employee Philip Poyntz, 29, was trying to clean the trim return conveyor belt on one of the gum sheeting machines at the Estover plant in Plymouth.

While doing so, Mr Poyntz's arm was drawn into the machinery and became caught in the conveyor's tail drum, causing serious injuries.

The Wrigley Company, of Plymbridge Road, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations for failing to provide adequate guarding, management of safety or training.

It was fined £75,000 for each breach and ordered to pay costs of £21,000 at Plymouth Crown Court.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector, David Cory, said: "This incident was entirely preventable and happened because the moving conveyor belt was unguarded.

"Two previous safety consultant reports commissioned by the company in 2002 and 2006 had highlighted such guarding deficiencies but their action to address the issues at the site was incomplete."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “Whilst I welcome the fine imposed following this serious work accident, it is clear that this accident could and should have been avoided. The employer had identified the risk but failed to adequately deal with it, resulting in serious injuries to the worker following this industrial accident.

“Dangerous parts of machinery should always be properly guarded.”