A PEST control company has apologised after an employee had the tops of two of his fingers severed by a blender.

BASF Agricultural Specialties Ltd has issued an apology after employee Graham Burton was seriously injured during an incident in Littlehampton on January 27, 2020.

The company, who produce biological pest control products, was ordered to pay £112,564.58 at Sussex Magistrates’ Court on Friday, September 17.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Graham Burton put his hand into a gap between a blender unit used to mix nematodes and a bin which collected the product.

The worker’s fingers made contact with the rotating blades of the Winkworth ribbon blender, resulting in the tops of two of his fingers on his left hand being severed.

A guard that prevented access to the blender blade had been removed when the height of the drop bin was modified, due to concerns about back pain.

The guard had not been replaced after the bin modification took place.

The HSE findings said BASF Agricultural Specialties Ltd failed to ensure that a new guard was fitted after height of the collection bin was changed.

“This case highlights the importance of ensuring that dangerous moving parts of machinery are guarded,” the HSE said.

“The incident could so easily have been avoided by having suitable guarding on the machine.”

BASF Agricultural Specialties was charged with failing to take effective measures to prevent access to the rotating blades, thereby creating a risk of serious injury.

They were fined £107,000 and ordered to pay £170 for victim services and £5,394.58 in costs.

In total, the company have been ordered to pay £112,564.58 by October 15, 2021.

BASF Agricultural Specialities Ltd Littlehampton site manager Mark Downing said the company began implementing corrective action “immediately and voluntarily” after the incident.

“On behalf of the company, I want to take this opportunity to make an unreserved public apology,” he said.

“The company’s failure that resulted in the breach is deeply regretted. It resulted in an injury to one of our team, which is unacceptable.”

He said additional training and coaching has been provided to those involved in management of change and risk assessment at the Littlehampton site.

“The company has learnt from the incident, looking to positively respond to it,” he added.

“The company is committed to ensuring safety at the site and are determined that such an incident will not happen again.”

A review of equipment and processes on site was also conducted and no other deficiencies were identified.

The company’s guilty plea was taken into account when imposing the sentence.

The products created at their site in Lineside Industrial Estate are used in a range of agricultural, turf, ornamental and home and garden markets across the world.