Food manufacturer Bakkavor has once again been fined for safety breaches after one of its employees suffered two broken ribs having been crushed within an industrial cooking machine while attempting to clear a blocked water inlet.
Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee was crushed after the machine’s safety systems were over-ridden and it continued to operate. The court heard that the machine should have been isolated before work on it began but adequate assessment and instruction had not been given to staff.
Bakkavor Fresh Cook pleaded guilty of one breach of section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2607.
An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Bakkavor should have been aware that employees regularly carried out this task in this fashion.
'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'
The HSE also said that no risk assessment of the task was completed and employees were not provided with a safe system of work to carry it out. This led employees to devise their own way of conducting the procedure, which included overriding the safety systems and using unsafe working practices.
At the end of the trial, HSE inspector Tim Nicholson said: '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.'
This is the latest case to involve Bakkavor, which manufactures meals, salads, desserts and pizza and bread.
The company was fined £2 million in 2017 following an incident in 2015 when 29-year-old employee Jacek Adamowicz was killed after a 723kg bale of waste packaging fell onto him at Bakkavor’s site in Wigan.
More recently, Bakkavor was fined £176,000 in 2018 after an incident at its West Lothian site in 2016, when a worker died from injuries sustained after a stack of empty trays toppled onto him having been knocked by a forklift truck.
Bakkavor, originally founded in Iceland, now has its headquarters in London and operates 23 factory sites and four distribution centres across the UK. It also has a growing presence in the United States and China. Bakkavor specialises in producing microwave meals, desserts, pizzas and salads and says it is ‘the leading provider of fresh prepared food in the UK’, with its products stocked by many high-street supermarkets.