A Northern Irish animal feed company has been fined £20,000 (€22,411) over an incident which saw an employee lose an arm, according to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI).

Brian McGuckian, trading as McGuckian Milling Company, pleaded guilty to two health and safety breaches at Antrim Crown Court, after an employee sustained serious injuries when his left arm was amputated by a screw auger conveyor.

On the day of the incident, the injured party was working in the blending plant at the animal feed manufacturing site when he noticed a blockage had occurred at a holding bin.

While attempting to rectify the defect his arm was drawn into an unguarded rotating screw auger resulting in the amputation of his left arm below the elbow, according to the HSENI.

McGuckian was fined £10,000 (€11,206) under Article 4(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978; and another £10,000 (€11,206) under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment (Northern Ireland) Regulations 1999.

Commenting, HSENI inspector Gavin Rowan said: “The investigation found that Brian McGuckian failed to provide adequate information, instruction and training for the operation, use and maintenance of the work equipment.

“The investigation also found there was a lack of adequate guarding on the screw auger conveyor.

“Employers must ensure that all machinery is adequately guarded and that their employees are trained and competent to operate machinery.

This injury was preventable and the risk from the unguarded machine should have been identified.

“Employers should make sure that they properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery,” Rowan concluded.