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An employee of Baxters Food Group has been injured whilst working at the Fochabers plant, resulting in the company admitting to failings in its health and safety procedures.

Kayode Ogundele had been employed by the company from October 2012 to February 2014. During March 2013, Ogundele was given ‘basic’ instructions before being set to work on the packing section of the Fray Bentos line.

His hand became trapped in a section that is commonly known as the ‘nip’, between the stationary roller and the moving conveyor belt. The employee wasn't able to reach the emergency button to stop the conveyor, so was trapped until a forklift driver heard his shouts for assistance. Eventually, his hand was freed when the forklift driver used a spanner to remove the roller.

Elgin Sheriff Court heard that Ogundele had been off work for one month following the accident and was left unable to hold items for any length of time in his left hand, or place it flat on a surface. It was also reported that he suffered from depression as a result of needing help to perform daily tasks.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and said that the accident had been ‘entirely avoidable’. According to Mark Donaldson, the defence counsel, Baxters had admitted guilt at the first opportunity and had addressed the issues highlighted by the accident. A fine of £6,000 had also been levied.

Health and safety procedures are in place so that people can avoid life-threatening accidents and those that can cause disability, which is why some workers are required to wear specially designed workwear or undergo training.

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