A food company has been ordered to pay more than £6,700 after a worker had two fingers severed in an unguarded machine.
The 28-year-old woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, lost the tips of her index and middle fingers in the incident at the Avana Bakeries site in Rogerstone, Newport, on September 18, 2013.
Newport Magistrates’ Court heard the accident occurred when the agency member was cleaning cake mixture from a pipe by hand at the bakery, then owned by Solway Foods.
The prosecution was launched following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The court was told that a colleague was cleaning out the pump and connected inlet and outlet pipes using a hose. The pump, however, was still running in order to pump out the residual mixture from the last product.
The woman’s right hand was injured while cleaning up water using a squeegee. It was while carrying out this task that she noticed some cake mixture inside the inlet pipe and put her hand inside to clear it, touching the moving parts of the machinery.
The company was found to have put bars over the inlet and outlet parts on most of the other pumps in the factory, but the pump in question was without a guard, the HSE discovered.
Following the accident, the worker, from Cwmbran, still suffers pain and difficulty in everyday tasks such as brushing her hair or writing, the court heard.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Joanne Carter said Solway Foods had “clearly failed” to ensure the safety of its workers.
She added that it was “particularly disappointing” that the firm had recognised the potential danger by fitting guards to some of the pumps, but had failed to ensure the safety measure carried out across the board .
Solway Foods, of Trinity Business Park, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. It was fined £2,400 and ordered to pay £4,373 in costs.
Source: South Wales Argus
Date Published: August 20, 2014
Author: David Brown