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Burnley bakery fined after worker loses fingertips in pasty machine

Date:
20 February 2014

A Burnley bakery has appeared in court after an employee had the tips of two fingers chopped off by a pasty-making machine.

Tayyabah Bakery Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safey Executive (HSE) today (20 February 2014) after an investigation found part of a metal guard had been deliberately removed, allowing employees to add fillings to the machine while it was still operating.

Reedley Magistrates’ Court in Burnley heard the 35-year-old man from Blackburn had been feeding a cheese and onion mixture into the top of the machine on 7 September 2012 when his right hand was struck by the pistons.

He was off work for almost a year as the pain in his fingers meant he was unable to return to manual work in the Gannow Lane bakery.

The HSE investigation found that the machine had been fitted with a guard when it was bought by the company around five years before the incident. However, part of the guard had been cut away, creating a 12cm by 30cm gap, which meant fillings could be added without the lid of the machine being lifted and the power being cut.

Tayyabah Bakery Ltd, of Higher Eanam in Blackburn, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £5,002 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous machine parts.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David Myrtle said:

“The injuries suffered by the employee have had a significant impact on his life but his injuries could have been even worse. If the machine had been set up with larger pistons, as it was on some days, he could easily have lost all of his fingers.

“The machine was entirely safe to use when it was installed but, by overriding an essential safety feature to speed up production, the company exposed employees to an unacceptable and entirely avoidable level of risk.

“It is vital manufacturing companies put the health and safety of their staff before profits, otherwise incidents like this will continue to happen in the future.”

Information on health and safety in the manufacturing industry is available at www.hse.gov.uk/manufacturing.

Notes to Editors:

  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. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken…which are effective to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”
  3. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.

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