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Lost time injury (LTI): Severe hand injury in galley

An incident has come to IMCA’s attention in which a member of the galley staff sustained severe injuries. The individual was grinding tomatoes when his arm got trapped in the feeder tube of a meat grinder machine. His colleagues freed him from the machine and transported him to the onsite clinic in a private vehicle. The victim received immediate treatment at the onsite clinic. When he was stabilised, he was transferred to a local hospital. During emergency surgery at the hospital his right hand had to be amputated.

(L) Incorrect set-up with no plunger or top tray (R) Correct set-up with plunger and top tray
(L) Incorrect set-up with no plunger or top tray (R) Correct set-up with plunger and top tray

The on-going and as yet incomplete investigation has revealed the following:

  • The equipment was not properly configured for safe use – see photographs;
  • All the necessary guards were not in place;
  • The machine was being operated by someone who was not fully familiar with how to operate it;
  • The machine was not being used for the purpose for which it was intended. The following toolbox talk/safety meeting points were suggested:
    • What kind of machinery is there in your galley or catering facility that could cause harm;
    • Are these machines being operated safely? Are all the necessary guards in place and functional;
    • Are the cooks and galley staff trained and competent to use the machines properly and safely;
    • Is there anything that can be done to further improve galley safety;
    • Are your emergency response procedures adequate to deal with an injury of this sort.

Members may wish to refer to the following similar incidents (key words: hand, finger, guard, removed, galley). All of these incidents except the final one have as a cause, failure to have physical safeguards in place to avoid finger or hand injuries.

Members may wish to make use of the IMCA video ‘Slips, trips and finger nips‘ and also the IMCA pocket card ‘Watch your hands‘.

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

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IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.