• Robert Spicer

The Little Book of Horrors Part 2: bakers and butchers


Industrial bakery explosion death

David Cole, a baker, repeatedly attempted to light an industrial bakery oven. He was not aware that gas was building up to a critical flashpoint in the baking chamber. The gas exploded and blew the oven door from its hinges. Cole was struck and suffered fatal injuries. Andrew Jones Pies’ procedures for operating the oven was inadequate and informal. Bakery workers were not given sufficient instruction in its use or the potential hazards arising and precautions necessary to operate it safely. The company had failed to appreciate that direct-fired ovens could potentially fill with a flammable mix of gas and air if repeated unsuccessful attempts were made to fire them up. An explosion relief panel on the back of the oven, which should have safely vented excess pressure, had been rigidly fixed in place.



In July 2011 an employee of Rare Butchers of Distinction Ltd at its premises in Lewisham suffered a deep cut to his forearm while deboning a lamb shoulder. He was off work for more than three months and underwent physiotherapy to restore strength in his hand and thumb. The employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, was wearing a wrist-length chainmail glove. He should have been wearing a chainmail glove as far as his elbow. The company failed to report the incident within the ten-day limit required by RIDDOR. It took 29 days for it to notify the HSE.

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