Sushi maker says he was sent to A&E without sliced off fingertips | Evening Standard

2022-04-25 07:23:09 By : Mr. TEYES Factory

Viraj Kakadia has been left with two of his fingers permanently severed

Viraj Kakadia in hospital getting treatment

sushi maker has claimed his bosses sent him to A&E in a taxi without his sliced off fingertips after an accident with a vegetable cutting machine.

Viraj Kakadia has been left with two of his fingers permanently severed after the horror accident in January at the Taiko Foods factory in Acton – a major supplier to supermarkets including Waitrose, Pret a Manger and Sainsbury’s.

Mr Kakadia was operating an “unsafe and dangerous” vegetable cutting machine that had stopped working during use, according to the GMB Union representing him in a compensation claim that could be worth up to £20,000 if successful.

Viraj Kakadia, GMB Member, said: “The employer is playing games with my life.

The sushi maker, originally from India, was allegedly wearing one of only two steel gloves available to employees on the day when his fingers became trapped as he tried to restart the machine used to cut peppers for supermarket sushi boxes.

In doing so, he lost the tips of two fingers.

He claimed if his bosses had sent his fingertips in ice with him to hospital he could have had them reattached at A&E.

Also, the worker made further claims Taiko bosses failed to call an ambulance making him take a Bolt cab to St Paddington’s hospital.

He told how he worked six days a week in near-freezing conditions at the west London factory.

He said: “The employer is playing games with my life.

“If they sent the fingertips with ice with me to the hospital, I’d still have them intact today. They didn’t call an ambulance, and they haven’t offered me any support.

“The employer isn’t providing a safe working environment. The standards aren’t there. The training is not there, and it is not a trade union organised workplace.

“Myself and my colleagues are standing up and protesting for our rights. They don’t treat us equally. They don’t value our work and the jobs we do are very hard. I work six days a week in a work environment where the temperature is just four degrees.

“There is no amount of money for my injury that would solve it so it’s not a question of money.”

A spokesperson for Taiko Foods: “As a national food manufacturing business, Taiko takes its health and safety obligations very seriously. The wellbeing of our colleagues is paramount. We provide each employee with thorough training and a full supply of PPE, and we ensure that all machinery is well-maintained and has the correct safety features in place.

“This was an incident to which the on site team responded swiftly and efficiently, ensuring our colleague reached hospital as quickly as possible.

“Our colleague will be paid in full for his leave of absence and we have reinstated any annual leave he took following this incident.”

A statement from Waitrose added: ‘“Worker welfare is incredibly important to us and we’re really concerned to hear about this. We are investigating this as a matter of urgency with Taiko.”

Hiten Vaidya, GMB London Region Organiser, said the union had forced the company to backtrack after they told him initially take his sick days as holiday.

“There are more than 600 employees at the factory, with most earning the National Living Wage of £9.50 an hour,” he added.

“Around half of the workforce at the factory is estimated to be from ethnic minority backgrounds with English as a second language.”