UK food producer fined after worker loses most of hand

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Risk

A major European food business has “accepted liability” after being prosecuted and fined over two health and safety related incidents at a production plant in the UK.

The 2 Sisters Food Group, which produce raw and prepared chicken products, was fined £230,000 (€260,000) following prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over two incidents, one of which resulted in an employee losing four of his fingers, part of his thumb and some of the palm of his right hand.

The company was ordered to pay £90,000 (€100,000) for the first incident and £140,000 (€160,000) for the second, as well as costs of £24,350 (€28,000).

The 2 Sisters Food Group, which admitted a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in relation to both incidents, accepted that its health and safety standards had fallen short.

A company spokesperson told that the “case indicated training of machine minders, hygiene operatives, supervisors and managers fell short of our stringently high standards.”

Regrettable incidents

“2 Sisters Food Group accepts liability for the case that occurred at its Flixton site,” ​he added.

“The case is regrettable and the company has worked hard since these occurrences to improve its training procedures, risk assessment and systems of work for cleaning duties and operations within the Flixton factory. Safety of our employees at every site remains our highest priority and we wills strive for continuous improvement in all of our working practices.”

The first incident, where supervisor Shaun Alexander lost four fingers, part of his thumb and some of his palm after being pulled into two rotating cogs, was attributed to a safety guard which had been removed from the machinery.

The second incident occurred when a fork lift driver Malcolm Raven, trapped and broke his arm while attempted to clear a system blockage. The company admitted that a by-pass device had been installed to over-ride a safety control, which would have prevented the incident.

Not properly trained

HSE inspector Jane Jarvey said: “Both of these incidents were wholly unavoidable. Shaun Alexander was failed by the company’s lack of proper training, inadequate assessment of risks, absence of safe working practices and effective measures stopping access to dangerous equipment.”

“He will have to live with the consequences of someone else’s mistakes for the rest of his life.”

“Malcolm Raven’s injuries could have been much more serious. Similar failings were shown up in his case, made worse by the fact that he hadn’t been properly trained for a task that was outside his normal working duties.”

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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