Welsh firm fined by court after being prosecuted over health and safety breaches

by Redmans on December 20, 2013

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A Welsh manufacturing firm has been fined by the courts after it pleaded guilty to a breach of health and safety regulations which led to injury to one of its workers.

Easibake Foods Limited, a bread manufacturer based in Pontypridd, Wales, has been fined £14,000 and ordered to pay costs after one of its workers suffered a potentially serious injury to her right hand after it was caught in a machine in an accident at work on 9 July 2012.

On the day in question the worker was working at Easibake’s factory in Pontypridd when she noticed that there had been a build-up of dough in one of the machines. She therefore put her hand in the machine to attempt to clear the dough but went too close to the blades of the machine. This led to her hand being trapped in the machine and a number of injuries to her right hand, including a fracture to her right index finger, multiple fractures to her thumb, and soft tissue and nerve damage to her hand. This resulted in a temporary loss of movement in her fingers and necessitated urgent surgery to repair the damage. It is not clear as to whether the worker has been able to return to work since the injury and/or whether she has or will claim personal injury because of the accident.

The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) were notified of the accident and investigated. This investigation found that there had been a number of serious faults by the Easibake, including principally a failure to fit a fixed guard to the blades of the machine to prevent workers from coming in contact with them. The HSE therefore recommended that the firm be prosecuted.

The case came before the Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court on 17 December 2013. Easibake Foods Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and was, as a result, fined £14,000 and ordered to pay the prosecution’s costs amounting to £9,931.

It was not apparent whether Easibake Foods Limited or its criminal defence lawyers had commented on the sentencing at the time this report was written.

HSE inspector Mr Stuart Charles stated after the sentencing: “Easibake Foods failed to take effective measures to prevent access to potentially dangerous parts of its machinery, therefore exposing wokers to the risk of injury.   “This was a completely needless and entirely preventable incident that left  an employee with painful injuries. The company should have used a fixed guard to prevent access to the dividing blades.”

Redmans Solicitors are no win no fee employment solicitors based in Richmond, London, and can help injured employees claim personal injury

Please note that Redmans Solicitors were in no way associated with this case

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