Hughes Mushrooms: Firm fined £73,000 after worker's leg was amputated after getting trapped in machine

A man had to have his leg amputated after being caught by rotating blades in a machine he was cleaning at a mushroom farm in East Yorkshire.

Luka Ilic’s right leg was caught by the blades of the machine and became stuck in the device’s moving parts on 16 October 2019.

The 29-year-old was part of a team of three at Howden Enterprises Ltd, trading under the name Hughes Mushrooms, that was cleaning the machine at its premises in Holme-on-Spalding-Moor.

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Mr Iliac climbed onto the machine, which is used to prepare and fill compost in growing trays, to remove left over compost.

The machine the worker was trapped inThe machine the worker was trapped in
The machine the worker was trapped in

However the machine was then turned on and he became trapped. His leg was later amputated below the knee at hospital.

The Northern Ireland headquartered firm, has been fined more than £70,000, following an investigation into the accident at the state-of-the-art, 12,000 sq ft processing facility.

An inquiry by the Health and Safety Executive found Howden Enterprises Ltd failed to adequately assess the operation of the filling machine, in particular the cleaning of the machine.

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The firm failed to ensure robust isolation and safe operating procedures were in place and followed.

Mr Ilic’s leg was caught by the rotating blades in the mixing axleMr Ilic’s leg was caught by the rotating blades in the mixing axle
Mr Ilic’s leg was caught by the rotating blades in the mixing axle

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

The company was fined £73,333 and ordered to pay £7,522 in costs at Hull and Holderness Magistrates Court.

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.

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

The 11-acre site which opened in 2018 is described as being “chemical-free and equipped with industry-leading technology”, on the firm’s website.