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Danger At Bakkavor

Monday, October 28, 2013

GMB Demand Immediate Action As Amputations Continue At Bakkavor Factory And Harrow Resident Losses Top Of Finger

In 2006 Bakkavor employee Dimple Mulgi and another colleague suffered the same loss of the top of their fingers at the Bakkavor factory in Park Royal.

GMB today demanded that food manufacturer Bakkavor Pizza, Harrow to take immediate action to safeguard its 850 employees including 600 GMB members, as another worker suffers the loss of the top of a finger in an accident with a faulty food processing machine.

Harrow resident and GMB member Mrs S Patel had the top of a middle finger sliced off when she was picking up dough balls being discarded from a faulty machine. A guard on the machine, which was normally locked, was wide open and at one stage she had to reach inside to pick up the fallen dough balls. As she did this, her right middle finger became caught between a moving chain and a sprocket, resulting in the injury.  She needed treatment at the Royal Free Hospital, and her middle finger is now shorter and causes pain and numbness.

GMB Organisers are at the factory today reminded the company that this is not the first time this accident has occurred. In 2006  two Bakkavor employees suffered the same loss because of a faulty machine guard albeit at another Bakkavor site four miles away .

Bakkavor Foods Ltd, of West Marsh Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire, was fined £20,000, the maximum fine magistrates were able to impose, and ordered to pay £12,484 in costs after admitting a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company manufacture ready meals for High Street supermarkets including M&S, Tesco, Waitrose and Sainburys

Bakkavor Foods Ltd., which operates across the UK, Europe, Asia and North America, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after safety failings were identified at the Bakkavor Pizza factory following the latest incident on 22 August 2012.

Westminster Magistrates heard (16 Oct) that Mrs Patel, from Harrow, had started work on the late shift in a bakery at the premises in Christchurch Avenue, Harrow. As line leader, she undertook technical and quality control checks and covered for staff absences.

HSE found that a lockable guard on the machine had been left open, giving no protection to employees using the machine from coming into contact with dangerous moving parts.

Tony Warr, GMB Senior Organiser said, “GMB is furious about what happened to Mrs Patel as GMB had won compensation for other GMB members at the sister Park Royal site before and for this exact type of injury. In 2006 Bakkavor Katsouris employee Dimple Mulgi and another colleague suffered the same loss of the top of their fingers at the Bakkavor Katsouris factory in Park Royal.

GMB are inspecting the Bakkavor Pizza, Harrow factory and calling on the company and the HSE to make the factory safe for employees as a matter of urgency. The GMB has raised serious concerns due the company increasing line speed in order to improve upon production quotas. We fear there is another accident awaiting to happen and are advising and warning our members not to work with any unsafe machinery”

HSE Inspector Charles Linfoot said, “Bakkavor Foods Ltd had a duty to ensure its employees were protected from the dangerous moving parts of the prover machine. The lack of control resulted in an employee suffering a painful and debilitating injury.

The fact that a lockable guard was removed highlights poor supervision of staff. The incident could have been prevented had the company rectified the machine fault and ensured guarding was effective at all times.

HSE has been dealing with Bakkavor Foods Ltd regarding management failings in safety in recent years, and has dealt with the company over similar machinery guarding issues at another site.”


Contact: Tony Warr, GMB Senior Organiser on 07710 631336 or Charles Linfoot, HM Inspector on 0207-556-2142 or GMB Press Office: 07974 251823 or 020 7391 6755  

Notes to Editors:

1. Food production has one of the worst safety records within the manufacturing sector. Companies must ensure that machinery is adequately guarded at all times to ensure the risk of contact with moving machinery is minimised.”

2. In 2011/12 manufacturing accounted for about 10% of the British workforce but recorded 25% of fatalities and 16% of reported injuries to employees, with 31 deaths and nearly 17,500 injuries.

3. Food manufacture had a rate of reported major injury of almost twice the rate for manufacturing as a whole.

4. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.

5. Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that measures are taken… to prevent access to any dangerous part of machinery or to any rotating stock-bar; or to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery or rotating stock-bar before any part of a person enters a danger zone.”


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