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Firm fined over worker's death

Industrial Accident


A pet food manufacturer has been fined £157,500 after the removal of safety guards on a piece of heavy machinery led to the death of a worker.

Marcus Snow was working in the packing department of Naturediet Pet Foods, at the time based in Chiddingfold, Surrey, when the incident occurred.

The 40-year-old was manning a semi-automatic machine used to transfer finished cartons of dog food onto a conveyor when the system became jammed.

As Mr Snow crawled into the front entrance of the machine to clear a suspected jam, the pneumatic pick-up unit pinned him down, resulting in his death by asphyxiation.

An investigation found that the entrance to the machine should have been guarded with a photoelectric light curtains. However, the safety device had been wired out, allowing workers full access to the machine's interior.

Naturediet was fined £157,500 at the Central Criminal Court in London after admitting breaching the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Janet Hanson said: "This joint investigation with Surrey Police highlighted a number of serious and deliberate deficiencies in the safeguarding of the machine Mr Snow was working on."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Industrial accident special David Urpeth commented, "I welcome the fine imposed following this horrific work accident.

"It is essential that machines are fitted with guards to avoid workers being able to gain access to dangerous parts of the machine. Failure to do so runs the risk of a worker being injured or killed in an accident at work."