Sansetsu (UK) Ltd, which makes protective packaging for a range of sectors including fresh fruit and vegetables, was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,742 following an incident in May 2011, after pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court, in southern England, heard that that 29-year-old man from was cleaning debris from the machine at the factory in Tilbrook when his right hand became caught on an in-running nip and was trapped between two powered rollers.
The machine was running and the temperature of plastic material inside was at more than 200C. As a result, the worker suffered severe injuries - including losing the majority of three fingers, on his right hand. He has returned to work but is unable to carry out his old job.
A probe launched by the Health and Safety Executive discovered there was no guarding in place to prevent access to the dangerous parts of the machine.
The company was issued with an Improvement Notice, which has now been complied with, said the watchdog.
"Running nips are a common hazard in many industries and all machines should be guarded to prevent human contact with the dangerous parts,” said HSE inspector Karl Howes. “When machines are used with very hot plastics, these can be very dangerous.
He added: "Employers using this sort of equipment need to make sure there is adequate guarding and if Sansetsu (U.K) Limited had taken the simple and inexpensive step of installing one, then this incident would never have happened."
FoodProductionDaily.com contact Sansetsu but the company declined to comment.