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Meat processing company fined after worker skins own hand

14th May 2014

Employee’s hand became trapped in machine used to skin chicken carcasses

A company in East Anglia has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after one of its employees received a serious injury whilst using a meat-processing machine.

Crown Chicken Ltd, based on the Norfolk/Suffolk border processed chicken for use in catering and for sale to supermarkets. In July last year whilst using a specialized machine to remove the skin from the chickens, one of the Crown Chicken employees caught a glove he was wearing on the machine. His hand was pulled into the cutting blade which removed all of the skin on the back of his hand between his knuckles and his wrist.

This incident, as well as another accident several months at the same factory where another employee’s finger was severed in the lifting mechanism of a forklift truck prompted the HSE to launch two separate investigations into the business. These investigations revealed that machinery at the factory did not have adequate guards to prevent workers from becoming trapped or injured; the gloves issued to employees did not provide sufficient protection for them and some machinery had not been fitted with emergency stop buttons so that it could be shut down immediately in the event that someone became trapped.

On the HSE’s own website, their inspector, Saffron Turnell, commented on the case:

"These two incidents resulted in very serious and painful injuries to both men. What is more, both could easily have been avoided if Crown Chicken had taken the correct health and safety precautions. The company failed to ensure that simple measures were in place to protect employees using the de-skinning machine. Similarly, the company had no safe method for staff to access the refrigerated trailers.  Employers must ensure that appropriate health and safety measures are in place and that appropriate equipment is used. HSE will not hesitate to take action against employers failing to comply with the law and putting workers at risk."

Workplace injuries compensation claims with Camps Solicitors

The case of the man who lost the skin on his hand in an accident at work demonstrates just how serious the consequences of not adhering to health and safety principles can be. If his employer provided appropriate protective equipment in the form of tougher gloves for him to wear when he was working and if the machinery he was using had been fitted with a guard and an emergency stop button, it is unlikely that the accident that caused his injuries would have occurred.

Here at Camps, we understand the implications of being injured whilst doing your job. Having to take time off work after suffering an injury that might have been easily preventable is not only frustrating, it can also place financial pressures on you and your family. That is why we work on your behalf to secure you the compensation you deserve after an accident that wasn’t your fault. Our solicitors have some of the highest success rates in the industry when it comes to making workplace accident claims and we pride ourselves on delivering a first class service to you throughout your claim.