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Bread factory fined over worker’s hand injury

17 December 2013

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

Easibake Foods Limited 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.

At a hearing yesterday (16 December) Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court heard that the 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.

Easibake Foods Limited, of Ballynahinch Road in Carryduff, Belfast, was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £9,931 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Stuart Charles said:

“Easibake Foods 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.

“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.”

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  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.
  2. Regulation 1(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”
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