A UK-based bakery has been fined after a worker’s fingers were crushed in the rollers of a dough sheeter machine.
The firm, Tower Bakery Limited of Shore Road, Perth, Scotland was ordered to pay £4000 for the March 2008 incident.
The court heard that the individual involved worked as the confectionery manager at the factory and suffered serious crush injuries to his right hand, including three 5cm puncture wounds to his fingers.
At Perth Sheriff Court, Tower Bakery pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, in that it failed to assess the risks to workers when cleaning the dough sheeter and that it failed to give employees sufficient training, supervision, information and instruction for the task of cleaning the machine.
Commenting after the case, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Inspector Rachel Doyle, said: "Tower Bakery had left the injured person to his own devices when cleaning the dough sheeter. A simple risk assessment would have shown that there was an obvious risk whilst the rollers were in operation, and allowed action to be taken to prevent access.”
“Employers must realise that it is unacceptable to not provide training and supervision on an ongoing basis," she added.
According to an investigation by HSE, Tower Bakery Limited had never carried out a risk assessment for the process of cleaning the dough sheeter.
The worker had copied the process he had seen other employees use and had not been made aware that power to the machine could be isolated to allow it to be cleaned.
The worker had decided to clean the machine whilst he waited for sugar to boil. He had set the dough sheeter so that the rolls were rotating towards him. However, instead of switching the control lever on the dough sheeter to neutral when the sugar finished boiling, the person switched the rollers into reverse so that they were rotating away from him. As the rollers continued to rotate away from the worker, his hand and the scraper he was using became drawn into the machine.
An HSE spokesperson told BakeryandSnacks.com that there were 83,000 serious or reportable injuries in the UK food and beverage sector in the past 10 years to April 2009. “The figures add up to 160 injuries each week and include 33 fatal accidents – most involving falls,” they said.