Chicken processor fined after worker fractures backs

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Occupational safety and health

A chicken processor in the UK has been ordered to pay £6,500 (€7,600) for flouting health and safety laws after a worker was involved in a serious accident at its plant.

Crown Chicken was fined £3,500 and told to pay legal costs of £3,000 after a worker fell and fractured his spine at the facility in Weybread, Norfolk, England. The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The incident occurred when a 61-year-old worker was carrying cladding boards up an unsecured ladder at the site when it slipped from under him. The man suffered broken vertebrae in his lower spine after falling 2.5m onto a concrete floor.

The employee was off work for six months and, while he has since returned to work, can only carry out light duties.

Inadequate planning and supervision

A probe by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that in July 2010 a supervisor at Crown Chicken’s factory had allowed the worker to help another employee in carrying out a maintenance task.

The investigation concluded: “The work was not adequately planned and the company had not provided information to its staff on how to use ladders safely.”

The employee was asked to do a task for which he was neither properly trained nor supervised, said HSE Inspector Saffron Turnell.

"More workers are injured by falling from a ladder than any other access equipment,”​ added Turnell. “Crown Chicken should have been aware of this and ensured that adequate systems were in place so that its employees were not put at risk.”

A Crown Chicken spokesman told “We were satisfied with the court judgement.”

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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