A poultry company has been sentenced after two workers were maimed by moving machinery.
In two separate factory incidents, a worker lost a thumb and an engineer a finger.
A Lithuanian agency worker had been assigned to work in an evisceration room, which processes about 200 birds a minute. He was shown how to remove chicken intestines by a fellow Lithuanian operative – but who was not a trainer. Shortly after starting, the worker’s thumb got caught in a shackle on a moving production line. Colleagues were unable to reach an emergency stop in time and the thumb was severed.
An engineer was in the evisceration room changing machinery blades. Against company policy, he was in a ‘danger zone’ that should have had the power isolated beforehand.
With the line still running, his finger became trapped when trying to prevent two entwined shackles from damaging machinery. Unable to reach the emergency stop, his finger was severed.
Health & Safety Executive investigators found the firm had failed to make sure:
- Measures were in place to mitigate the consequences of workers becoming trapped in shackles in the first instance.
- Safe isolation procedures were followed in the second.
2 Sisters Food Group pleaded guilty to breaking the:
- Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 in the first incident – it was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,031.
- Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in the second incident – it was fined £74,000 and ordered to pay £4,386 in costs.
The HSE said “These incidents could so easily have been avoided had appropriate controls been in place”.
It stressed companies should be aware it will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those falling below the required standards.
Health and Safety Executive
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