Accident at work news

£230k fine for unsafe chicken farm

A Suffolk chicken farm has been fined £230,000 after it was found health and safety failings contributed to two serious work accidents in the space of a month.

One man suffered crush injuries to his hand while another had an arm broken in separate incidents involving two different pieces of machinery.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that both workplace accidents could have been avoided if mechanical safeguards had not been removed or overridden.

The first incident, in December 2009, saw a 42-year-old supervisor lose four fingers, some of his thumb and part of his palm on his right hand in an incident with the rotating cogs of the machine he and a colleague were cleaning. A missing safety guard would have prevented access to its dangerous inner workings.

The second work injury took place the following month in the farm's pre-slaughter area. A 54-year-old employee entered one of the chicken enclosures to clear a blockage, and in doing so his arm became trapped and subsequently broken in the processing machinery.

In this case, safety controls designed to prevent personal injury had been bypassed with an aftermarket device installed by the company.

This week, Norwich Crown Court heard farm bosses admit to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act, for which they were fined £230,000 and ordered to pay costs of £24,350.

An HSE spokesperson said the injured men had been let down by a "lack of proper training, inadequate assessment of risks, absence of safe working practices and effective measures stopping access to dangerous equipment."

She described both work accidents as ‘wholly avoidable' had these failings been addressed.


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