Cornish baker told to pay £29,000 after accident

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Safety

The accident happened at the unguarded pinch point of a conveyor
The accident happened at the unguarded pinch point of a conveyor
The Crantock Bakery has been ordered to pay £29,000 after one of its night shift cleaners became trapped in the unguarded machinery of a moving conveyor belt.

Bodmin Magistrates heard that Wioletta Drozdz, aged 27, from Newquay, broke both forearm bones in her right arm during the early hours of December 10 2010 at the bakery in Indian Queens, Cornwall.

Drozdz was part of a team cleaning equipment at the bakery. The shift cleaning supervisor, who left the site a few hours before the accident, had told Drozdz to clean the Number Two conveyor production line.

The court was told the line was running when Drozdz began working on the conveyor. Using a metal scraper blade, she started cleaning dough from a moving steel pressure roller on the end of the conveyor.

But when the scraper slipped, her gloved right hand and arm were drawn into the pinch point between the steel roller and the rubber belt of the conveyor.

Near-misses

The magistrates heard there had been a previous incident and a number of near-misses relating to the unguarded rollers, of which the staff was unaware.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Authority (HSE) revealed that the fixed guard that should have been in place on the equipment had been missing for at least a year before the accident.

Also the worker had not received training on how to clean the conveyor safely or been shown the machine's cleaning instructions.

The HSE said: “The cleaning staff had been exposed, over many months, to a serious risk due to the missing guard and incomplete training procedures.”

Its investigation found that Crantock Bakery's training systems, staff training records and cleaning instructions were “inadequate, inconsistent and confusing”.​ While some staff cleaned the conveyor only when it was stopped, others cleaned the roller when it was working – as Drozdz had done.

Crantock Bakery was fined a total of £14,000 and ordered them to pay £15,000 in costs.

Classic accident

HSE inspector David Cory said: "This serious incident at the bakery was a classic accident waiting to happen.

"Machinery such as conveyors should be fitted with a guard to prevent this sort of accident happening. There is plenty of well established guidance from the HSE and the industry on how machinery can still be properly cleaned with appropriate guards in place.

Drozdz had surgery on her broken arm and has experienced a great deal of pain and discomfort through her ordeal, said Cory. “It has taken a considerable period of time since the accident for her to recover to a more normal situation with her injured right arm. The company has provided physiotherapy and supported the rehabilitation of Mrs Drozdz and she remains an employee.”

Crantock Bakery pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and guilty to breaching Regulation 11 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

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