A cross-continental food processing company has been deemed responsible for causing the loss of the right hand of one of its workers, which could lead to accident compensation to recompense the man's pain and suffering.
A major European food business that produces raw and prepared chicken products has been fined £230,000 after two incidents at its Suffolk factory, one of which involved the forementioned employee losing his right hand.
Night shift supervisor Shaun Alexander, 42, from Kesingland in Suffolk, was helping a member of his team to clean equipment at the 2 Sisters Food Group's plant at Flixton, near Bungay.
The subject of accident claims took place in December 2009 when his hand was pulled into two rotating cogs and crushed. A safety guard had been removed from the machinery.
A month later, in January 2010, fork lift driver Malcolm Raven, 54, from Lowestoft, was left in charge of a pre-slaughter area for chickens. He entered an enclosure to clear a blockage in the system and his arm was trapped and broken. The company had fitted a by-pass device to over-ride a safety control that would have prevented this happening.
2 Sisters Food Group, based at West Bromwich in the West Midlands, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over the incidents.
The company admitted two counts at Norwich Crown Court today under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined a total of £230,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,350.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Julie Jarvey said:
"Both these incidents were wholly avoidable. 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.
"HSE will not hesitate to take companies, big or small, to court and seek tough penalties when it finds them taking a lax attitude to their workers' safety."
Work accident compensation would provide the kind of recompense that would allow both workers to put their horrific injuries behind them and live life to the most enjoyable extent possible, given their circumstances.
Posted by Bryony Flack-Crane