Updated Apr 11, 2024

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£400,000 fine for bakery after employee loses leg

A bakery has been fined 400,000 after a worker had to have their leg amputated as a result of an accident.

The accident occurred at Baker & Baker Products, which is based in Bromborough, part of the Wirral.

On the 22 April 2022, Mrs Bramhall was supervising four other members of staff completing high-level cleaning tasks during a night shift. An employee was controlling a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) and Mrs Bramhall was acting as 'a banksman' for them. Sharon Bramhall was struck and had her left leg crushed as the MEWP turned through 90 degrees into the warehouse.

The accident, which was caught on CCTV, left Mrs Bramhall hospitalised for three months and with the need for a total of nine operations including several skin grafts.

A series of failings were revealed after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The company failed to have in place a suitable and sufficient safe system of work when escorting MEWP's from a parked position to point of use. They also failed to provide information, instruction and training for the movement of the MEWP and use of banksman and also failed to adhere to their normal practice and company policy to ensure a trained MEWP operator acted as banskman. The accident could have been prevented with the implementation of these things.

Baker & Baker Products UK Limited pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 leading to a fine of £400,000 and costs of £7,266.

HSE inspector Ian Betley commented on the prosecution:

"Sharon Bramhall suffered terrible injuries that will affect her for the rest of her life due to the failings of her employer.

"Vehicles continue to be a major cause of serious injuries in the workplace, and the first principle of any employer should be to keep people and vehicles apart.

"The risk assessment decided that someone was needed to escort the MEWP, thus a safe system of work needed to be devised. Employees should have been given appropriate banksman training, including how to effectively communicate with the driver.

"Had these been in place, Sharon's injuries could have been avoided."

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