Folkestone Magistrates Court heard how on 27 September 2021 Lee Simpson’s right hand and arm were drawn into a paddle mixer when removing filling ingredients at David Wood Baking Ltd’s Sheerness premises.
Simpson, who as 26 years old at the time, had to have his arm surgically removed. He said that he has now lost much of his independence.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the control measures in place to prevent contact with moving parts were ineffective as the guarding of the mixer was routinely not replaced after cleaning.
The ‘interlocking’ system on the mixer was also defeated, which meant it would still operate without the front guard in place, putting employees at risk when operating it.
David Wood Bakery Ltd pleaded guilty to breaches under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Regulation 11(1)(b). The business was fined £858,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 costs at Folkestone Magistrates Court on December 21, 2022.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Joanne Williams said: “In this case this was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to implement safe systems of work and a failure to identify the risks.
“Had the company ensured the interlocks were maintained and remained in working order, the machine could not have been used without the guard in place and this life changing injury could not have occurred.”
In the food and drink industries machinery and plant causes over 30% of fatal injuries and over 10% of major injuries, according to HSE.
Meanwhile, last year, Drinks giant Carlsberg was fined £3m for an ammonia leak at its Northampton site that left one man dead and another seriously injured.