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Bread firm fined after worker’s hand trapped in dough cutting machine

By Joe Whitworth+

19-Dec-2013
Last updated on 19-Dec-2013 at 16:37 GMT

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

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

The firm, of Ballynahinch Road in Carryduff, Belfast, was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £9,931 in costs after pleading guilty to the single breach.

Clear build-up of dough

The worker was trying to clear a build-up of dough from the machine at the plant on 9 July 2012 when she put her hand close to the blades.

She suffered a fracture to her right index finger, multiple fractures to her thumb and 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, started operations in April 2006 in a 76,000sq metre factory, according to the firm’s website.

Need for a fixed guard

Stuart Charles, HSE Inspector, said the company should have used a fixed guard to prevent access to the dividing blades.

“Easibake Foods failed to take effective measures to prevent access to potentially dangerous parts of its machinery, therefore exposing workers to the risk of injury.

“This was a completely needless and entirely preventable incident that left an employee with painful injuries,” 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.”

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