Food firm fined after accident

A CHICKEN factory worker could have lost his arm within two seconds in an accident involving a meat crushing machine, a court heard.The Two Sisters Food Group Limited, which has a factory at Haughley Park failed to ensure safety and disciplined two managers in an attempt to shift the blame, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

A CHICKEN factory worker could have lost his arm within two seconds in an accident involving a meat crushing machine, a court heard.

The Two Sisters Food Group Limited, which has a factory at Haughley Park failed to ensure safety and disciplined two managers in an attempt to shift the blame, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Kurdish worker Barzan Mohamad was using the “snitzel” machine which had no safety guard when his right hand became trapped between its two belts.

Ruth Barber for the Health and Safety Executive said the prompt action of his shift manager Andrew Spragg who pushed the emergency stop button had minimised the accident.

Miss Barber said: “There was a significant risk of an employee getting their arm crushed or amputated. A human forearm from fingertips to above the elbow could go through the machine in two seconds.”

Mr Mohamad suffered a “cracked” knuckle and grazing on his right hand and was off work for five weeks.

Most Read

Miss Barber said Mr Mohamad had no training on the machine and was advised to bypass the safety guard as it was faulty.

The court heard that it had become the practice at the factory to use magnets to stop the machine switching off when the guard was removed.

Miss Barber said shift workers Mr Spragg and Lee Forsdyke were given written warnings by the company for not training the machine operatives.

She said: “By taking disciplinary action against two shift managers Two Sisters sought to shift the blame and did not take into account their own failure to train Mr Spragg or Mr Forsdyke.”

Two Sisters pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees at work, for failing to make suitable and sufficient health and safety risk assessments and for failing to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.

Mark Watson mitigating said after the accident, which happened on June 30, 2006 the company carried out a full investigation and made a range of improvements.

Judge John Devaux fined the Two Sisters Food Group a total of £30,000 ordered it to pay £12,242.60 costs, £2,250 compensation to Mr Mohamad and a £15 victim surcharge.

A spokeswomen for the HSE said: “The HSE wishes to make it clear that we expect business risks to be properly managed and machinery to be guarded in accordance with publicised guidance.

“Employers also need to be aware of the particular risks for migrant workers and ensure that training and instructions are understandable for all their workers.

“The message from this case is that the HSE will continue to take action against those who flout the law.”

n. Have you been involved in an industrial accident? Contact The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter