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  3. Bakery chain fined as worker breaks back in fall

Warburtons bakery chain was recently fined following a fall that resulted in a worker breaking his back.

The employee was working at the Wednesbury, West Midlands site when the accident occurred in November, 2014.


Andrew Sears was carrying out the relatively frequent and routine job of cleaning a mixing machine. However, during the cleaning, Sears fell around two metres after losing his footing, suffering a compression fracture of the spine.

Following the fall from height, Sears was off work for over a year, unable to return to his previous role with the company due to his injuries. Sears was dismissed from his job, as he had taken further sick leave and was in a condition that allowed him to work.


Warburtons Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident. According to the organisation, the company had a lack of supervision and training for those employees who were working at height.

A spokesperson for the HSE stated that the company expected all employees to climb onto the machines and perform routine cleaning. The organisation added that the workers would often brace themselves, as they were unbalanced while cleaning the machines. The company pleaded guilty to the charges and received a fine of £2m, plus costs of £19,609.28.

Falls from height and other serious incidents in the workplace can be avoided by providing training, supervision and PPE where necessary. Warburtons has stated that it has taken precautions to prevent this happening again.

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