Following two separate accidents involving entrapment with moving machinery, a food manufacturer has been sentenced.
On 26 March 2016, whilst working for 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd at its poultry site in Flixton, Norfolk, Mr Romas Ciurlionis trapped his thumb in a moving shackle shortly after being shown how to remove chicken intestines. As the line was running, he was pulled away from the emergency stop cord and when it moved past a fixed gate his thumb was severed.
On 23 August 2016, Mr Darren Hamilton entered an area of the factory that should have had the power isolated before cleaning activities commenced. The safe system of work was not being followed and the shackle line was still running when his finger became trapped. As he could not reach the emergency stop his finger was severed.
Investigations carried out by the HSE found that 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd had failed to ensure that measures were in place to mitigate the consequences of a worker becoming entrapped in a shackle in the first instance and that they failed to ensure safe isolation procedures were followed in the second.
2 Sisters Food Group Ltd of Grange Road, Flixton, Bungay pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Works Equipment Regulations 1998 in relation to the first incident and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,031.83.
In respect of the second incident, the firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 and was fined £74,000 with costs of £4,386.52.
The reasons for these accidents appears to be a reoccurring theme which includes businesses not carrying out sufficient risk assessments which identify risks associated with the task, failure to provide and implement safe systems of work, failure to provide the necessary protective guards to machinery and inadequate staff training.
As we have noted previously, the impact of the Sentencing Guidance is being felt across numerous industries with fines now running in excess of £100k. In certain instances, prison terms are also being given to individuals. It is important to note that actual harm does not need to have occurred. The offence lies in not managing the risk.
Contact us if you require help with carrying out risk assessments to keep you and your business safe.