Bakery Firm Prosecuted Over Machinery Accident

Worker Loses Fingertips In Newport Incident

20.08.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
A food manufacturer has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over an incident in which a 28-year-old agency worker lost the tips of two of her fingers after they were exposed to unguarded machinery.

The incident happened in September 2013 at Solway Foods Ltd’s Avana Bakeries site at Rogerstone, Newport, which has since been sold to another company.

She was cleaning cake mixture out of a pipe with a hose held in her right hand when her fingers became trapped in the pump mechanism. This caused her to lose the tips of her middle and index fingers. She still suffers pain from the injuries and struggles to carry out normal daily tasks, such as brushing her hair or writing.

This occurred when she had turned off the hose but noticed a little bit of residual mixture left in the pipe and tried to remove it by hand when it became caught.

An HSE investigation found that the company had placed guards over the inlets and outlets on most of its pumps, but not on this particular one.

Solway Foods pleaded guilty in the hearing at Newport Magistrates Court to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. It was fined £2,400 with costs of £4,373.

Commenting on the incident, HSE inspector Joanne Carter said: "Solway Foods clearly failed to ensure the safety of its workers, with very painful consequences for this agency worker. It is particularly disappointing that the company in this case had recognised the risk but had failed to guard all the pumps to the same standard."

She added that moving parts should always be guarded or equipped with safety mechanisms to cut power from the machine, concluding: "Non-routine operations such as cleaning or maintenance are not exempt from this requirement."

HSE figures indicate that around 40,000 deaths and injuries are caused by machines in UK workplaces each year, with a lack of guards being a common cause of them.

Our serious injury solicitors could help you claim compensation if you have suffered an injury at work that resulted in the amputation of a limb. See our Amputation Claims page or Workplace Accident Claims page for more information.


Expert Opinion
All too often employees suffer accidents at work while using unguarded machinery. In our work we see first-hand the devastating impact these injuries can have on the individuals involved. In this case, the accident resulted in the loss of two fingertips, a shocking injury that still causes pain to the employee involved and has changed the way she lives her life.

“It is vital employers take their responsibility for the health and safety of their employees seriously and implement the correct safety measures to prevent shocking incidents such as this from occurring. It is crucial non-routine operations, such as cleaning and repairs are also taken into account when carrying out risk assessments as these tasks can be just as dangerous for employees, particularly when the machine’s moving parts are exposed due to a lack of safety equipment.

“Hopefully this incident will serve as a reminder to employers that all workers need to be protected against the dangers they are exposed to in the workplace and that action needs to be taken to ensure all equipment is fitted with the necessary safety measures.”
Jonathan Peacock, Partner