Pizza maker fined £800,000 after two workers caught up in machinery

March 25, 2024

One of the nation’s largest producers of supermarket pizzas has been fined £800,000 after two workers suffered serious injuries at its factory in Bolton.

Stateside Foods Limited produces millions of pizzas each year, supplied to major UK supermarkets. The company was fined after the employees were caught up in machinery at the Westhoughton site in two separate incidents during 2020.

Bolton Crown Court heard how one man had his arm drawn into an inadequately guarded conveyor belt at the Lancaster Way factory, on 8 January 2020. The injury to his arm resulted in the removal of muscle and required a skin graft. He has not returned to work since the injury and has been diagnosed with hypersensitivity in the affected arm.

Following on from this, on a night shift just nine months later, father of two Andrew Holloway had part of his middle figure severed after his hand was drawn between a roller and a conveyor belt on 14 October 2020. The acting team leader had been told of an issue on the production line and gone to investigate when the horrific incident happened.

Although Mr Holloway returned to work after a six-month absence he left after just a couple of days – which resulted in him starting his career again.

The HSE’s investigation found the company:

  • Did not adequately guard their machinery.
  • Did not provide suitable and sufficient checks to ensure that their protective measures were working effectively.
  • Allowed the disabling of guarding systems and access to dangerous parts of machinery.

Stateside Foods Limited of Lancaster Way, Westhoughton, Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. The company was fined £800,000 and was ordered to pay £5,340 costs.

The prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyers Sam Crockett and supported by senior paralegal officer Stephen Parkinson.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Leanne Ratcliffe said: “This is one of the country’s major food companies. The injuries sustained by both of these workers has been truly life changing.

“This case should send a message to industry about how important it is understand the risks of bypassing guarding arrangements, and to re-evaluate their own guarding arrangements and procedures to eliminate any access to dangerous parts of machinery.

“We will always be prepared to take action when companies fall short of their duties and responsibilities to protect their staff.”

HSE Enforcement Lawyer Kate Harney presented the case at Bolton Crown Court.

This is valid as of 25th March 2024.

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