Dunbia (UK) fined £440k after security guard injured

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Dunbia (UK) was fined £440k after a security guard was injured on site
Dunbia (UK) was fined £440k after a security guard was injured on site

Related tags Meat & Seafood Hse

Meat firm Dunbia (UK) has been fined £440,000 after a security guard at its Hatherleigh, Devon abattoir was seriously injured.

Plymouth Magistrates Court heard how a 63-year-old guard, working for an independent security company, was on duty at the gated entrance of the abattoir early on the morning of 29 November 2019 when the incident occurred. 

Her duties included operating the gates to allow delivery vehicles to enter and exit the site. She sustained serious leg and head injuries requiring surgery when she was hit by a vehicle towing a trailer leaving the site. She was holding the gate open at the time. 

Unsafe system of work  

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the system of work was unsafe and that the company’s risk assessments did not extend to security guards. 

Despite the high volume of vehicle movements on site, there was no segregation between the vehicle routs and pedestrians on site. 

Dunbia (UK), of Castle Street, Exeter, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £440,000 and ordered to pay costs of £27,016 and a victim surcharge of £170 at Plymouth Magistrates Court on 12 October 2022. 

An employer’s legal duty 

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Victoria Buchanan said: “Employers have a legal duty to ensure that the health and safety of their employees, contractors and members of the public are not put at risk. 

“This incident could have been avoided had the company assessed the risks from vehicle movements and implemented safety measures including segregating vehicles and pedestrians.” 

Meanwhile, last week, poultry processor Bernard Matthew’s Food Ltd was fined £400,000​ following two separate incidents where employees were seriously injured – including one worker who was left paralysed – at its Suffolk manufacturing site.  

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