Luton Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee was attempting to clear a blockage in a piece of machinery by accessing internal parts on 2 October 2017.
In the process of clearing the dough jamming the machine, it restarted and dragged the victim’s arm into the ‘danger zone’, where his hand was amputated at the wrist.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company did not have adequate measures in place to prevent workers being able to access dangerous parts of the machine.
Mr Bagel’s Ltd of Bridge Road East, Welwyn Garden City pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £4,500 and ordered to pay costs of £4,500.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Nigel Fitzhugh stressed employers’ responsibility to properly assess and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery.
“This injury was easily prevented. Machine blockages are routine events; the risk to a person from clearing them should have been identified,” he added.
Food mixers and dough moulders each account for 3% of the injuries that involved machinery reported to the HSE. Conveyors were the most commonly reported causes of accidents involving machines in food processing plants (30%).
Fatal injuries in food and drink
More than 30% of the fatal injuries reported by the food and drink sector were caused by incidents involving machinery and plant and accounted for 7% of all total injuries in the industry. About 500 injuries a year were related to complications with machinery.
A number of food and drink manufacturers have been fined since last year for health and safety failings that lead to worker’s being caught in machinery.
In February, Kerry Ingredients Ltd was ordered to pay more than £180,000 after the partial amputation of a workers fingers at its Gainsborough site.
The previous year saw 2 Sisters Food Group fined more than £270,000 for two separate incidents where workers became trapped in moving machinery.
Meanwhile, workplace deaths across the manufacturing sector – including food and drink firms – have fallen over the past year, according to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) annual workplace fatality figures for 2019/20.