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An injury at work led a staff member at Easibake Foods to develop nerve injuries, a Court has been told.
Based in Pontypridd South Wales, the company in question was taken to Court to face charges it did not properly protect personnel from potentially dangerous components that had the ability to cause harm.
The worker in question, who does not want to be named, was trying to clear off a build-up of dough that had amalgamated as she carried out her duties when the accident happened.
Cwmbran Magistrates' Court was told that she put her hand close to the blades as she attempted to reach this blockage and it was drawn in, causing serious nerve injuries.
The woman was rushed to hospital where doctors told her she had suffered a fracture to her right index finger as well as more serious injuries to her thumb on the same hand.
Medical Consultants also concluded she had substantial nerve damage and soft tissue issues and this resulted in a temporary loss of movement, which was partially remedied with surgery.
Although Easibake has now fitted a guard to the relevant piece of equipment to stop personnel from touching fast-moving blades, this has not prevented the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) from prosecuting it for its failings.
Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Stuart Charles said, "Easibake Foods failed to take effective measures to prevent access to potentially dangerous parts of its machinery, therefore exposing workers 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."
For its part in the unnamed worker's injuries, Easibake was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £9,931 in costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
Improper guarding remains a large problem in the manufacturing sector and earlier this year the HSE revealed a man's hand was severed after his arm was dragged into a polishing lathe.
By Francesca Witney
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