A Lancashire bakery has been fined more than £6k by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), after a worker lost the tips of two fingers in a pasty-making machine.

An investigation found that part of a metal guard had been deliberately removed, allowing employees to add fillings to the machine while it was still operating.

An employee had been feeding a cheese and onion filling machine into the top of the machine when his right hand was struck by the pistons, heard Reedley Magistrates’ Court this week.

The incident, which took place on 7 September 2012 at the Tayyabah Bakery in Burnley, resulted in the employee being off work for almost a year.

The owners were fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £5,002 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous machine parts.

David Myrtle, inspector, HSE, said: “The injuries suffered by the employee have had a significant impact on his life but his injuries could have been even worse. If the machine had been set up with larger pistons, as it was on some days, he could easily have lost all of his fingers.

“The machine was entirely safe to use when it was installed, but by overriding an essential safety feature to speed up production, the company exposed employees to an unacceptable and entirely avoidable level of risk.”