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A bakery worker had to have his arm amputated after it became entangled in an industrial food mixer.

Lee Simpson was removing filling ingredients from a paddle mixer at the David Wood Baking Limited site in Sheerness, Kent, when his right hand and arm were drawn into the machine.

Simpson, who was 26 years old at the time, had to have his arm surgically removed and has said he has since lost much of his independence.

An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident, which happened in September 2021 at the factory in Dorset Road, Sheerness, where the bakery business makes sausage rolls, quiches and other food products.

HSE investigators found that measures to prevent contact with moving parts were ineffective as the guarding of the mixer was routinely not replaced after cleaning. They also found that due to an issue with the interlocking system the mixer would still operate without the front guard in place, putting employees at risk when operating it.

David Wood Baking Limited pleaded guilty to breaches under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, Regulation 11(1)(b) and was fined £858,000 and ordered to pay £8,000 costs at Folkestone Magistrates Court on 21 December 2022.

HSE inspector Joanne Williams said a significant proportion of all workplace accidents happened because of poorly guarded equipment, and that machinery and plant cause 30% of fatal injuries and over 10% of major injuries in the food and drink industry.

“In this case this was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to implement safe systems of work and a failure to identify the risks,” she added.

“Had the company ensured the interlocks were maintained and remained in working order, the machine could not have been used without the guard in place and this life changing injury could not have occurred.”