One of the workers injured at a Bolton pizza making factory  said he “never experienced pain this bad” after an accident cost him his finger.

This comes after The Bolton News reported last week that Stateside Foods had been fined more than £800,000 after two separate incidents around four years ago in which workers were injured.

Stateside Foods, based at Wingates in Westhoughton, is one of the nation’s largest producers of supermarket pizzas.

Father-of-two Andrew Holloway, had to have his middle finger amputated after an incident in which his hand was caught in a machine on October 14, 2020.

He said: “My right hand was drawn into the roller on the machine and when I pulled my hand out my fingers were hanging off.

“I was taken to hospital and was in and out of consciousness due to the shock and pain I was suffering.

The Bolton News: Mr Holloway lost a fingerMr Holloway lost a finger (Image: HSE)


“The pain was unbearable after the initial shock wore off; I have never experienced pain this bad in my life before.

“After I woke from the first operation, the surgeon informed me that he could not save my middle finger and had to remove the top section.

“They managed to save my ring finger by inserting a wire into it.”

Mr Holloway returned to work after a six month absence but left again after only a few days.

The Bolton News: Two men were injured at Stateside Foods in separate incidentsTwo men were injured at Stateside Foods in separate incidents (Image: HSE)

He has spoke now about the lasting impact the injury has had on him and his loved ones.

Mr Holloway said: “I was unable to care for my three-year-old son after the accident as I couldn’t even get myself dressed let alone a three-year-old.

“I suffer with pain every day due to the accident; my fingers are stiff and very sensitive; every winter is unbearable due to the cold.

“My favourite hobby used to be art, which I really enjoyed, but I cannot do this for more than five minutes now. Even simple things, like holding a knife and fork when eating can be difficult.

“This has been the worst period of my life by far, not only have I suffered but so have my family.”

The Bolton News: Two workers were injured in separate incidentsTwo workers were injured in separate incidents (Image: HSE)

Over the course of two hearings, Bolton Crown Court heard from prosecutor Kate Harney how Mr Holloway was the second worker to have been injured at Stateside Foods in 2020.

The first, a then 52-year-old agency worker, had needed a skin graft after his arm was drawn into a conveyor belt on January 8.

He has not returned to work at Stateside Foods since and has been diagnosed with hypersensitivity.

The company co-operated fully with the subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.

The investigation found that Stateside Foods did not adequately guard their machinery.

It also did not provide enough checks to ensure that protective measures were working properly, and allowed the disabling of guarding systems and access to dangerous parts of machinery.

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.

At a sentencing hearing last week, Judge Nicholas Clarke KC fined Stateside Foods £300,000 for the first incident, £500,000 for the second and ordered them to pay costs of around £5,340.

This brought the total fine to just over £800,000.

But Judge Clarke noted that the company had a “generally strong” health and safety record and that the directors “clearly take their responsibility seriously.”

He said that their cooperation with the case “demonstrates the commitment that the firm has to the ongoing health and safety of its employees.”

Judge Clarke had previously heard from Richard Matthews KC, defending, how that all involved with the company felt a “genuine and heartfelt regret” about the injuries.

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After the hearing, HSE inspector Leanne Ratcliffe said: “This is one of the country’s major food companies.

“The injuries sustained by both of these workers has been truly life changing.

“This case should send a message to industry about how important it is understand the risks of bypassing guarding arrangements, and to re-evaluate their own guarding arrangements and procedures to eliminate any access to dangerous parts of machinery.

“We will always be prepared to take action when companies fall short of their duties and responsibilities to protect their staff.”