Bakery fined over deaths inside oven

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The Independent Online

A bakery and its management were ordered to pay more than £500,000 on Tuesday after two workers died when they were sent into a hot oven to carry out repairs.

Judge Simon Hammond at Leicester Crown Court condemned the "total failure of health and safety" when the two men, who were trying to retrieve a broken part of the 75ft oven, became trapped inside it, two hours after it had been used for baking bread.

David Mayes, 47, and Ian Erickson, 44, sent terrified messages on a radio to their colleagues within five minutes of going into the oven at the Harvestime factory in Leicester. Their only chance of escape was to pass through the machine on a conveyor belt in temperatures of 100C (212F).

Mr Erickson, of Walsall, West Midlands, managed to scramble free but was terribly burnt and died on the factory floor.

Mr Mayes, of Rushey Mead, Leicestershire, was caught in machinery inside the oven and died from crush injuries and heat exposure. His body was recovered by firemen.

Three executives, Fresha Bakeries and the firm's owners, Harvestime, admitted health and safety offences. Fresha was fined £250,000 with £175,000 costs and Harvestime was fined £100,000 with £75,000 costs. The three men were fined £23,000 with £5,000 costs.

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