Doncaster Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 6 September 2012, the employee was attempting to clear a blockage on a conveying system at 2 Sisters’ Foxhills Industrial Estate site when he was struck by a large metal stillage.
The worker’s body was crushed at chest height against the end of the unit and he sustained multiple injuries, including several fractured ribs, fractures to his back and a punctured lung.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 2 Sisters had failed to identify deficiencies in the guarding on the machine. It also found that the clearing of blockages had been carried out while the machine was still in operation.
A 2 Sisters spokesman told Food Manufacture that the worker was supported fully with his rehabilitation and was able to return to work in 2013.
They added: “Since the accident in 2012, extensive changes have been implemented to the poultry unloading mechanism both at Scunthorpe and across the Group as a whole, in order to prevent this type of accident ever happening again.”
2 Sisters Food Group Limited, of Trinity Park House, Fox Way, Wakefield pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The poultry processor was fined £1.4m with £38,000 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kirsty Storer said: “The employee’s life-threatening injuries could easily have been prevented had the company identified the guarding deficiencies and put in place simple measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of the machinery.
“This should serve as a lesson to others in the food processing industry about the importance of effectively guarding their machinery to stop others being similarly injured.”
Fines for health and safety offences costing larger food and drink manufacturers more than £1m have become more and more common over the past two years.
Last month, pork processor Karro Foods was fined £1.8m after two workers suffered serious injuries when they fell through a rooflight.
Meanwhile, in 2017, convenience food manufacturer Greencore was fined £1m for safety failings, after a contractor died after falling from a stepladder.