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May 5, 2010

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Baker severs finger inside unguarded machine

A baker lost part of his left index finger in an unguarded dough mixing machine while he was adding ingredients to bread mix.

City of London Magistrates’ Court heard that Thambirasaiyah Roy, 39, had been using a spiral mixing machine to make dough at Bread Factory Ltd’s premises in Hendon, north-west London, when the incident took place on 3 October 2006.

Anne Gloor, the HSE inspector who both investigated the case and prosecuted it in court, told SHP that the machine’s guard had been missing for a considerable length of time. The company had also ignored previous advice from HSE regarding maintenance of machinery in the factory.

Inspector Gloor said: “If the guard had been in place it would have been interlocked, so that the machine would have stopped when the guard was lifted.

“Mr Roy did not deliberately reach in to the large mixing bowl, but as he tipped the ingredients into the machine, his hand made contact with the rotating beater at the bottom of the bowl. If there had been a guard in place, he would have been unable to do that.”

Bread Factory Ltd appeared in court on 30 April and pleaded guilty a breach of reg.11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) by not preventing access to dangerous parts of machinery. It was fined £3500 and ordered to pay full costs of £2926.

In mitigation, the company said it had a good health and safety record and Mr Roy was an experienced employee. It had since taken steps to address the issues raised after the incident and has now appointed three onsite engineers to identify and repair damaged and lost guards, and deal with problems as they arise.

Inspector Gloor concluded: “This incident could easily have been avoided. The hazards associated with this type of machine are understood within the food manufacturing industry and there is clear guidance on the guarding standards that should be followed. There were clear failings on this occasion. Had a simple guard been fitted to this machine then Mr Roy would never have suffered these injuries.”

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