Updated Oct 27, 2021

Food manufacturer fined after employee crushed in cooking machine

A food manufacturer based in Lincolnshire has been fined after one of its employees sustained two broken ribs after being crushed within an industrial cooking machine whilst working to clear a blocked water inlet.

Lincolnshire Magistrates' Court heard how the employee was crushed in the machine after its safety systems were over-ridden and the machine was worked on whilst it was live, instead of being isolated before work on it began.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the task was carried out by the employees in this way on a regular basis, and that the company should have been aware. No risk assessment of the task had been completed and employees had not been provided with a safe system of work to carry it out.

The lack of a safe system of work for the task and the company's failure to monitor how the work was done, led employees to devise their own way of conducting the procedure which included overriding the safety systems and using unsafe working practices.

Bakkavor Fresh Cook Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, was fined £130,000, and ordered to pay costs of £2607.10.

HSE inspector Tim Nicholson commented: "Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to this incident, alongside good monitoring of the way the work was done, the injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented".