A MANUFACTURER specialising in traffic cones, has been fined after an employee’s finger was severed due to inadequately guarded machinery.

Magistrates in Manchester were told how the employee, named in court as Edward Harlick, had been refilling the hopper of a blow moulding machine at Melba Products with plastic granules from a bag.

Prosecutors say work gloves inside the bag fell into the hopper and while the employee was reaching past a guard to retrieve them his middle finger contacted moving parts of a blender.

The court heard his second finger was eventually severed down to the knuckle.

Melba, then of Derby Works, Manchester Bury, admitted to a health and safety offence and was fined £125,000 with £5,387 costs.

Later Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Alex McFarland said: "This injury was entirely preventable."

An investigation by the HSE found the blender had not been sufficiently guarded to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.

There was a large gap of approximately 4 x 5 inches towards the top of the hopper guard.

The injured employee had only been operating the machine for one week prior to the incident.

The agency says Melba failed to carry out a risk assessment of the blender, to put in place appropriate control measures to prevent access to dangerous parts and to implement a suitable system of training and supervising of new starters.

Mr McFarland also said the incident "could have been avoided by ensuring the machine was being operated safely, with a suitable guard in place.

"Adequate supervision should also have been in place to ensure the machine was being used safely by newer operatives.

“Employers should make sure they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.”