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Mushroom Growing Company Fined £73k After Incident That Led To Amputation

Image of a green composting machine

A mushroom-growing firm has been fined after a man's leg became trapped in a machine and had to be amputated

On October 16, 2019, Luka Ilic’s right leg got caught in the rotating blades of a mushroom-filling machine.

He was part of a team of three at Howden Enterprises Ltd, trading under the name Hughes Mushrooms.

The team was cleaning the machine at the firm’s premises in Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, East Yorkshire.

The then 29-year-old climbed onto the machine, which is used to prepare and fill compost in growing trays, to remove the last remaining parts of the compost.

But the machine was then turned on.

Mr Ilic’s leg became trapped when the rotating blades in the mixing axle caught it.

His leg was later amputated below the knee at hospital.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Howden Enterprises Ltd failed to adequately assess the operation of the filling machine.

The investigation highlighted particular failures in the cleaning of the machine.

It failed to ensure there robust isolation and safe operating procedures were in place and followed.

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What happened?

Howden Enterprises Ltd, of Trew Mount Road, Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The company was fined £73,333.00.

It was also ordered to pay £7,522.60 in costs at Hull and Holderness Magistrates Court on 10 April 2024.

HSE inspector Louise Redgrove said: “The importance of a suitable and sufficient risk assessment which reflects all actual practical activities cannot be underestimated.

"It is vital to ensure there are effective systems of work and physical controls which are implemented, supervised and used by all those involved. 

"This incident could have easily been avoided with a robust isolation procedure and padlock for each worker involved.”

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