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Warburtons in court after employee is injured

Baking firm, Warburtons Ltd, has been fined after one of its maintenance workers injured his hand when it was dragged into a conveyor at a Newcastle factory.

What happened?

The 41-year-old employee was attempting to identify a fault on a hot tin slat conveyor belt, and was lying on the floor holding a torch. The conveyor knocked the torch out of his hand and, as he reached out to grab it, his hand was pulled into the roller underneath the machinery.

He sustained injuries to his right hand including tissue damage and an open fracture, which required surgery. He was off work for more than two months and is still suffering from side-effects relating to the injury.

An investigation into the incident found that only dangerous parts of machinery were only guarded by a crumb tray, which was easily removed from the conveyor by quick release catches. Additionally the machine hadn’t been isolated from all power sources during this particular maintenance operation, as it should have been.

New guards have since been fitted to the machine, which can only be removed using a specific tool. Additionally the company have produced specific systems of work for regular maintenance activities and ensured all relevant staff were trained in the new systems.

What was the outcome?

Warburtons Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,162.50 in costs.

HSE Inspector Sal Brecken said:

“This worker’s injuries should not and need not have happened. This
incident was easily preventable had Warburtons Ltd identified
the risks from the maintenance activities and monitored
the work undertaken by their employees.

“Guards and safety systems are there for a reason and companies have
a legal duty to ensure they are properly fitted and working
effectively at all times, especially during
maintenance activities.

“Ideally, machines undergoing repair should be isolated from their
power source. The measures Warburtons Ltd took following the
incident, could have easily been implemented beforehand
and prevented it from occurring.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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