Breaking News on the Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector

Sectors > Chilled foods

Chinese instructions contribute to worker’s injury

By Mike Stones , 17-Dec-2012
Last updated the 17-Dec-2012 at 15:11 GMT

The Chinese instructions on a dough mixing machine contributed to a worker seriously injuring his hand at an Edinburgh food firm.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that Joseph Burnett, aged 22, caught his arm in the machine while working for Jian’s Dumplings at the firm’s former premises in Gracemount Business Pavilions, Captains Road, Edinburgh.

Speaking after the hearing, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Katie Dunlop 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.

‘Very painful injury’

"Had these measures been in place, Mr Burnett could have avoided what was a very painful injury.”

The court heard that Burnett had been employed as a factory assistant for nearly four months when the accident happened on June 23 2010. The worker was employed to sort ingredients, make Chinese dumplings to order and package products.

On the day of the accident he was working on an industrial-sized dough mixer, into which ingredients and water are placed. The machine’s paddles then rotated to mix the ingredients into dough.

An HSE investigation revealed that the shutter on top of the machine still left a gap of about 8cm when in the closed position. Also, there was no interlocking on the dough mixer machine which would have cut the power to the dangerous rotating parts when the metal shutter was lifted.

Burnett became concerned the dough was too wet and began adding extra flour into the mixer by hand. But his hand and arm was pulled into the drum of the machine, causing two fractures in his fingers and ripped tendons in his index and middle fingers.

The injured worker needed surgery, including 30−40 stitches, and a plaster cast on his arm for eight weeks. Burnett needed physiotherapy to help restore movement in his fingers and still has limited movement in his index finger.

Failed to implement

The HSE investigation found that the firm had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the operation. It had also failed to implement a safe system of work or sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision concerning the use of the dough mixer machine.

Speaking after the hearing, Dunlop said: “This incident could have easily been avoided if a suitable risk assessment had been carried out.

“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.”

Jian’s Dumplings, of Dryden Road, Bilston Glen Industrial Estate, Loanhead, Midlothian, was fined £1,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Related products