Chocolate company prosecuted for man’s severed finger

A Northampton chocolate company has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an employee sustained a severed finger using an inadequately guarded machine.

Joao Countinho was cleaning the “Depositor”, a machine that pipes liquid chocolate into moulds, when the accident at work happened in February 2012.

Mr Countinho removed the rotors and reached up to check the stirrer cavity was clean.  However, the stirrers were still rotating and his left index finger became caught in the machine.

He sustained a partial severed finger, which had to be fully amputated at hospital.

Mr Countinho was off work for three months, but has since returned to the company in the same role.

The resulting Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the machine was only partially guarded as there was an interlocking guard at the top of the stirrer cavity, but no protective device in place at the bottom. This meant that Mr Countinho could access dangerous moving parts of the machine whilst it was in operation.

Melanie Lidstone Land, expert personal injury lawyer at Swain & Co, says, “This was a serious accident at work involving injuries that will affect Mr Countinho for the rest of his life.”

“The accident could have been prevented. The chocolate company owe a duty of care to all its’ employees to ensure that they are protected from dangerous moving parts of machinery.  On this occasion, it failed in it’s duty and, as a result, a man was seriously injured.”


If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident at work, Melanie is happy to offer free initial advice to discuss with you the possibilities of making a claim for personal injury on your behalf.

We act on a no win no fee basis.

So, call Melanie for free on 0800 0351 999