Northampton Crown Court heard how the worker at Tayto Group ltd was clearing a blockage of material from a machine on the production line in August 2015.
The worker’s hand came into contact with shears, severing three fingers on his right hand below the first knuckle.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that the guard on the machine was not secured at the time of the incident.
Guard not secure
The company had not implemented a formal monitoring system on the machine, to ensure that all guards were in place and secure before the machine was started.
Tayto Group of Princewood Road, Earlstrees Industrial Estate, Corby, Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER).
The company received a £330,000 fine and was ordered to pay costs of £11,752.23.
HSE inspector Michelle Morrison said this was an entirely preventable incident and manufacturers should have more robust systems to ensure guards are in place, to prevent serious injury.
Hands getting caught in unguarded machinery are some of the most common accidents to occur at food and drink factories.
The HSE has reported more than 10 prosecutions of food and drink firms in 2016, for safety failings involving hands and arms being trapped in equipment.
Food packaging firm Tata Steel was ordered to pay more than £2M for safety failings, after two workers suffered severe injuries to their hand in separate incidents.
Frozen food manufacturer McCain Foods were fined £800,000, after a worker nearly lost an arm in an accident involving a conveyor.
Meanwhile, Müller UK and Ireland Group has been ordered to pay more than £400,000 for safety failings, after a worker fell 4.6m through a fragile roof panel.