An employee of Norfolk Free Range Ltd was working at one of its indoor pig units at Meadow Farm, Northwold, Norfolk when the incident happened in December last year.
The employee, a stockman, was shovelling feed into neighbouring troughs after a failure in the automated system had caused an overflow in the distribution of feed pellets, Kings Lynn Magistrates’ Court heard.
He used his hand to sweep the feed off the top of the machinery where it had built up and at that moment the machine started automatically and pulled his finger into the auger severely injuring it.
The company was fined a total of £12,500, and ordered to pay £813 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Speaking after the hearing Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Anthony Brookes said: "HSE’s investigation revealed that this was an entirely preventable injury. Had somebody from the company checked that all the guards and covers were in place on the feed system before it was returned to service then the employee would not have been injured."