2 Sisters hit with £230,000 fine after factory injuries

By Dan Colombini

- Last updated on GMT

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Lack of staff training lead to accidents at Suffolk plant
Lack of staff training lead to accidents at Suffolk plant
Poultry products group 2 Sisters Food has been accused of failing to provide proper training to its staff after being fined a total of £230,000 following separate incidents that left one employee with a partially severed hand and another with a broken arm.

In the first incident, 42-year-old night shift supervisor, Shaun Alexander lost four fingers, part of his thumb and some of the palm of his right hand, after it was crushed while cleaning some equipment at the firm’s plant in Flixton, Suffolk.

The accident occurred in December 2009 after a safety guard had been removed from the machinery, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed.

Crushed

A month later, a 54-year-old forklift driver, Malcolm Raven, was manning a pre-slaughter area for chickens when his arm became trapped and broken while clearing a blockage.

An investigation by the HSE discovered that the firm, which is run by food tycoon Ranjit Boparan, had fitted a “by-pass device​” to override safety controls that would have prevented the accident from happening.

HSE inspector, Julie Jarvey said both incidents were “wholly avoidable​” and criticised 2 Sisters for its negligence towards the injured employees.

She said: “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.”

Mistakes

Earlier this week (October 25), 2 Sisters pleaded guilty to the charges at Norwich Crown Court, brought by the HSE as a result of a breach of Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The firm was fined £90,000 for the offence involving Alexander and £140,000 for the incident involving Raven, as well as a further £24,350 in court costs.

A spokesman for 2 Foods told Food Manufacture.co.uk: “2 Sisters Food Group accepts liability for the case that occurred at its Flixton site. It is regrettable that the case indicated training of machine minders, hygiene operatives, supervisors and managers fell short of our stringently high standards​.”

The firm also said it had “worked hard​” to improve training procedures, risk assessments and systems for cleaning duties at the factory, as a result of the incidents.

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood

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