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Worker loses part of finger in pie machine

14 December 2015

A company who produces cakes and pastries has been fined after a worker lost part of her finger in a pie and tart machine.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how an employee of Nectar Patisserie Limited noticed not enough dough was being discharged at the beginning of the production process into tart tins. In order to keep the production going, she used her right hand index finger to scoop additional dough out of the dough depositor outlet while the machine was still running. This worked once, but the second time an automatic knife which cuts the dough into set portions came down and severed half of her finger.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred on 23rd May 2015 at Garman Road, Tottenham, found that the company had failed to ensure a dangerous part of the machinery was sufficiently guarded.

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 after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after sentencing, HSE Inspector Nick Faber said: “The purpose of these regulations are to ensure that employees who operate machinery do not suffer serious injury from a moments 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 dutyholders is to ensure that any health and safety system in place is practical and actively challenges normal working practices to improve workplace safety”.

For more information about machinery safety visit: www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery