Bread factory fined £14k over worker’s hand injury

Posted on 18 Dec 2013 by The Manufacturer

A Pontypridd bread manufacturer has been fined £14,000 after an employee’s hand was trapped by moving blades on a dough-cutting machine.

Easibake Foods was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found there was no guard on the machine to prevent access to the moving blades.

A hearing on Monday at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court heard that the female worker, who does not wish to be named, was trying to clear a build-up of dough from the machine at the plant on Pontyfelin Avenue on 9 July 2012 when she put her hand close to the blades.

She suffered a fracture to her right index finger and multiple fractures to her thumb as well as soft tissue and nerve damage to her right hand, which resulted in the temporary loss of movement in her fingers and required surgery.

The court was told that following the incident, the company fitted a fixed guard to the blades to prevent access while cleaning the machine.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Stuart Charles said Easibake failed to take effective measures to prevent access to potentially dangerous parts of its machinery, therefore exposing wokers to the risk of injury.

“This was a completely needless and entirely preventable incident that left  an employee with painful injuries. The company should have used a fixed guard to prevent access to the dividing blades,” he said.

“Sadly, it is not uncommon for employees in the food manufacturing industry to be injured when cleaning unguarded, operating machinery. HSE will not hesitate to prosecute companies where key safety devices are not fitted to potentially dangerous machinery.”