Bakery directors fined after staff exposed to risk of electrocution and irritant

The directors of a Bedfordshire bakery have been fined after a series of health and safety breaches exposed staff to serious danger – including electrocution and exposure to flour dust.

Genaro Saiano and Dejan Durkin, the directors of DG Bakery Ltd, based in Harrowden Road, Bedford, appeared at Bedford and Mid-Bedfordshire Magistrates’ Court today facing health and safety charges.

The court heard how inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered dangerously exposed live wires on the bakery’s bread conveyor belt during an unannounced inspection on 13 January 2009. The inspectors issued immediate prohibition notices ordering the directors to shut down the conveyor belt until the machinery had been made safe.

HSE inspectors also issued four improvement notices, ordering various health and safety issues to be resolved by a set deadline. The bakery directors were legally required to prevent access to dangerous parts of the bread conveyor belt, prevent access to dangerous parts of the bread dough mixer, arrange for electrical testing and carry out a risk assessment for exposure to flour dust. They failed to comply with the improvement notice requiring a risk assessment be carried out.

At court today, the two directors admitted breaching Regulation 4(2) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 in relation to the exposed wires and Section 33(1)(g) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in relation to the risk assessment.

Mr Saiano, of Scotchbrook Road, Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £500 costs. Mr Durkin, of Blackburn Close, Shortstown, Bedfordshire, was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £500 costs.

DG Bakery Ltd is a small bakery specialising in the production of Italian bread.

HSE Inspector Emma Rowlands said: “It is simply unacceptable to operate machinery with live wires exposed – someone could have been killed or suffered a serious injury. The danger of electrocution is well known and advice had already been given to the bakery in 2000 regarding electrical safety.

“The directors also failed to comply with an improvement notice, requiring them to carry out an important risk assessment. The risks associated with exposure to flour dust are widely known and advice had been given to the bakery in 2007. The associated health hazards include irritation to the eyes and nose, occupational dermatitis and occupational asthma.

“All company directors must remember they have a duty to ensure their staff arrive every day to a safe working environment. This case has shown the importance of maintaining equipment in a safe condition and HSE is planning a series of inspections in the county for later in 2010 – to raise standards and protect the people who work in bakeries.”