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Employee Loses Half of Her Finger in Pie Machine

A firm that manufactures cakes has been prosecuted following an incident in which a worker lost part of her finger in a pie and tart machine.

Incident

In May 2015 an employee of Nectar Patisserie Limited observed that there was not enough dough being released at the start of the production process into tart tins. To keep the production going, the employee started to scoop additional dough out of the depositor outlet, using the index finger on her right hand, as the machine was still running.

This was successful the first time the employee tried it, however during the second time, an automatic knife used to cut the dough into measured portions started up and sliced her finger in half.

HSE Investigation & Fines

Following an investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it was found that Nectar Patisserie Limited had failed to safeguard a dangerous part of the machine, leaving it exposed to employees.

After pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Nectar Patisserie Limited, of Leeside Industrial Estate, Garman Road, Tottenham, was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,638.

HSE Inspector Nick Faber said after sentencing:

“The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that employees who operate machinery do not suffer serious injury from a moment’s distraction or error in judgement, which is what happened in this case.

“Whilst the company had health and safety procedures in place which they diligently followed, they consistently missed a glaring problem with a piece of machinery. Essentially they hadn’t truly understood the purpose of their checks and practices. My advice to duty holders is to ensure that any health and safety system in place is practical and actively challenges normal working practices to improve workplace safety”.

Accident at Work – Expert Advice

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Source: Health & Safety Executive

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