Two bakery workers died in agony after bosses sent them into a giant oven to carry out repairs on the cheap, Michael Kors a court heard yesterday.The machine should have been allowed to cool for 12 hours, but was only left for two.David Mayes and Ian Erickson were unaware of the full danger as they crawled into the oven because fans had cooled its outer reaches to 40c. Its core, however, was still at 100c.The repair was a delicate procedure in which they had to collect broken parts from along the length of a conveyor belt which carries bread trays slowly through the 75ft-long oven.
They had removed enough trays to allow them space within the rails of the belt to crawl along with it at the same speed.But within five minutes they were relaying terrified messages over their walkie-talkies, saying the oven was too hot. There was no way of reversing the belt and they were trapped on its journey through the oven.Mr Erickson, 44, was pulled out at the other end and died on the factory floor in front of horrified workmatesMr Mayes, 47, collapsed inside and was caught in the machinery.Michael Kors He died from 80 per cent burns and multiple fractures.The tragedy occurred because the Harvestime bakery in Leicester put productivity above safety, prosecutor Anthony Barker QC, told Leicester Crown Court. Harvestime had been told by the oven’s manufacturers that the operation would take four men 12 hours.
The company would have lost £1,120 for every hour the oven was shut down.The two men were sent into the oven just two hours after it had been baking bread at 260c and managers decided they could go in through the entrance hatch to avoid the cost of removing side panels.The company, part of the Walsall-based William Price Group, Michael Kors and three of its directors face huge fines after admitting their parts in the tragedy.Fresha Bakeries Ltd and Harvestime Ltd, Fresha’s trading arm, each pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to provide a safe system of work.