A food manufacturer has been ordered to pay more than £32,000 after part of an employee’s finger was sliced off in a pizza factory incident in Wealdstone, London.
Sushila Patel lost the top of her right middle finger when it became trapped in a dough proving machine at the Bakkavor pizza plant on Forward Drive.
Worker still in pain today
The 58-year-old was working as production line leader on the late shift when the incident took place on August 22, 2012. She carried out technical and quality control checks as part of her role.
Ms Patel was retrieving dough balls being thrown out by a faulty machine. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found she was injured because a movable guard did not offer protection from the apparatus.
Ms Patel, of Harrow, still suffers pain and numbness in the finger which became caught in the machine.
Previous safety failings
Bakkavor Foods, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
It was hit with the maximum fine of £20,000, with £12,484 payable in costs.
HSE inspector Charles Linfoot said the company is responsible for ensuring workers are protected from the dangerous moving parts of the prover machine. Failure to do so “resulted in an employee suffering a painful and debilitating injury”.
“The fact that a lockable guard was removed highlights the poor supervision of staff. The incident could have been prevented had the company rectified the machine fault and ensured guarding was effective at all times,” he said.
“HSE has been dealing with Bakkavor Foods regarding management failings in safety in recent years, and has dealt with the company over similar machinery guarding issues at another site.”
Company regrets incident
A Bakkavor Foods statement read: “As a major food producer, Bakkavor takes health and safety extremely seriously. We sincerely regret the injuries sustained by the employee concerned.
“We strive to ensure that every employee at Bakkavor works in a safe environment and have undertaken a thorough investigation into this incident to prevent any similar occurrences in the future.”
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