Many bakeries are still putting their employees at risk by not giving them the right protective clothes and equipment, despite new laws that make prison an option for most health and safety offences.

Under The Health and Safety Offences Act, introduced in January, maximum fines increased from £5,000 to £20,000 and potential prison sentences doubled from six to 12 months.

More health and safety-related cases can now be heard in crown courts, which have the power to impose unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to two years.

Lee Wright, marketing director of workwear equipment company Slingsby, said: “We’re constantly speaking to bakeries and other food producers that are unsure about what clothing and work wear they should be providing to their employees in order for them to carry out their jobs safely.”

The Health and Safety Executive reports that, on average over the last three years, there were 993 injuries each year per 100,000 workers in bread and cake manufacturing, and 1,027 for those working biscuits and preserved pastry production. This compares to a manufacturing industry average of 913.