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 this week, 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 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 workers 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.”