A worker lost a finger and another badly injured his hand after health and safety breaches at a Bolton based company, a court heard.

Both men were working at Stateside Foods, a well known pizza maker, in 2020 when the two separate incidents happened.

Now four years on, Bolton Crown Court heard how a “roller” put in between two conveyor belts had lead to the first accident in January 2020.

Prosecutor Kate Harney said: “This created a nip point in which an employee or non-employee could trap their hand.”

Ms Harney told the court how the roller was installed by an engineer employed by Stateside Foods.

The Bolton News: The case was heard at Bolton Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bolton Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

She said: “What hadn’t been completed from that was a review of the risk assessment in place by the defendant company.”

Ms Harney said that because the roller did not feature in the risk assessment “it didn’t feature in any received by the injured party in this case.”

On January 8 a then 52-year-old agency worker put his hand into the “nip point” to retrieve a box, which he then got stuck there.

The man had to be taken to hospital where he needed a skin graft and to have muscle removed.

As of August 2022, the man was still reporting to be suffering from hypersensitivity, which he believes will last for the rest of his life.

The second incident happened on October 14 the same year when a 30-year-old man employed by Stateside Foods tried to remove dough that was stuck in a different machine.

This machinery was protected by a “castell” key system, but Ms Harney told the court that workers were regularly bypassing this system by unscrewing bolts.

This meant they could access it without switching the machine off.

But when the man reached into the machine to take out the dough, Ms Harney said that he shouted for someone to turn it off and that his fingers were becoming "detached".

Ms Harney said: "Had that castell key system been adhered to, the Crown accepts, it would not have happened."

He was taken to hospital and after surgery his entire middle finger was removed to the knuckle, and he was left with limited movement in the rest of his fingers.

Ms Harney says that in both cases the company cooperated fully with an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive which found the firm had breached its duties.

Brought before the magistrates court on November 22 last year the company pleaded guilty to failing to discharge health and safety duty to an employee.

It also pleaded guilty to failing to discharge health and safety duty to a person other than an employee, taking account of the first man’s status as an agency worker.

Richard Matthews KC, defending, said that all involved with the company felt a “genuine and heartfelt regret” about the injuries.

He said they had accepted straight away that breaches of health and safety regulations had caused these injuries and had taken immediate action to correct what had gone wrong.

Mr Matthews said that the "nip" the first man had been injured in was an “isolated aberration.”

He said: “This is one roller in a company whose undertaking goes way beyond industry standards.”

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He added: “It’s one roller when the company policy not to have nip points on any machinery has not been successful in this one instance.”

Mr Matthews said that where the second incident, in which the man lost his finger,  was concerned, Stateside Foods had decided to use an expensive guarding system to try and prevent accidents.

He said that this was a “very sophisticated ” system to protect people from danger which had only failed this single time.

Turning to the company more broadly, Mr Matthews said: “Looking at its history since 1989, its more than an absence of convictions, it’s a demonstratively excellent health and safety record.”

Judge Nicholas Clarke KC said he will pass sentence on Friday March 15 this year.