Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Wednesday, 21 May 2008 17:23 UK

Worker's three fingertips cut off

A meat processing firm where a worker had the tops of three of his fingers sliced off has been fined 265,000.

Michael Warnes was changing a mould on a packaging machine at the Tulip factory in Thetford, Norfolk, in 2005, when machine parts moved.

Another worker, Korim Richardson, suffered an electric shock from a light fitting because the wiring was so old, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Tulip was also ordered to pay 21,653 in costs.

The company had admitted responsibility for both incidents, but had claimed Mr Warnes was partly responsible for losing the tops of his fingers in October 2005.

But a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation identified that the machine was not adequately guarded.

Judge Peter Jacobs said the company had a responsibility to protect its workers.

'Dangerous situations'

Mr Richardson was working on a ladder when he suffered a severe electric shock while changing a light fitting at the same site on Caxton Way in November 2005.

The electrical surge caused him to swing back with the ladder and he cracked bones in his shoulder.

The HSE investigation also identified a failure to maintain the electrical system at the site.

Tulip also breached health and safety laws by allowing employees and contractors to access wooden walkways over a suspended ceiling at the site.

The walkway did not have full guard-rails at the sides so there was a risk of falling about 60ft through the ceiling onto the production floor, the court was told.

HSE inspector Steve Gill said the company had "exposed their employees to potentially dangerous situations".

A company statement said: "Tulip Ltd takes the health and safety of all its employees very seriously and is disappointed that during 2005 and early 2006 standards at its Thetford factory clearly fell significantly below an acceptable level."

The statement added that a full review of health and safety had taken place at all its sites and it would consider the judge's remarks very carefully.


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