Dough machine accident exposes safety failings

An Edinburgh firm has been fined after a worker seriously injured his hand on an unguarded commercial dough mixer.

On the day of the incident, Joseph Burnett, a factory assistant at Jian’s Dumplings was working on an industrial-sized dough mixer, into which ingredients and water are placed.

The shutter on top of the machine when in the closed position still left a gap of approximately 8cm. There was also no interlocking on the dough mixer machine, which would have cut the power to the dangerous rotating parts when the metal shutter was lifted.

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Mr Burnett was concerned the dough was too wet and began to add extra flour into the mixer by hand. He suddenly felt his hand and arm being pulled into the drum of the machine, with his arm going in past the elbow of his right arm before he managed to pull himself free and alert others to what had happened.

Mr Burnett suffered two factures in his fingers and ripped tendons in his index and middle fingers. He had to undergo surgery and required 30-40 stitches.

An investigation found that Jian’s dumplings had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the operation.

It also revealed that the company had failed to provide a safe system of work or sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision in relation to the use of the dough mixer machine. The brand of dough machine was not disclosed.

The firm was fined £1,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After sentencing, HSE inspector Katie Dunlop said the incident could have easily been avoided if a suitable risk assessment had been carried out on the equipment.

“Such an assessment would have highlighted the danger posed by the dough mixer and an appropriate guard could have been added along with an emergency stop button, which was actually fitted following this incident,” she said.

“The markings and instructions on the dough mixer were all in Chinese, with no English translation, and there was no safe system of work or formalised training for employees. Had these measures been in place Mr Burnett could have avoided what was a very painful injury.”

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