Chicken firm fined £7k over worker injury

Chicken supplier Faccenda has been fined and ordered to pay costs after an employee suffered serious injuries as his arm was dragged into a conveyor belt.

A worker at Faccenda’s Romsey site near Southampton was hospitalised, required two operations, and was unable to work for several months after the incident in March 2014.

Supervisor Andrew House, from Calmore, saw his left arm get pulled into an unguarded part of the belt, and was unable to reach the emergency stop control. A colleague had to stop the belt so House’s hand could be released.

Faccenda was investigated and prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and has been fined £7,000 and ordered to pay almost £3,000 in costs. The company admitted two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and a single breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The court was told that Faccenda, based in Northamptonshire, had already been prosecuted by HSE in 2001 as a result of an incident involving poorly-guarded machinery.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Kate Clark said: “Andrew House suffered an awful injury to his hand which left him unable to use it for months. It was debilitating and traumatic.

“The fact is that it need not have happened at all. Faccenda Foods should have carried out a proper assessment of the risks involved in operating the machine. That would have identified the safeguards and controls and that were needed and the firm would have been able to put those measures in place.

“If the guards that Faccenda installed after Mr House’s injury had been there at the time, it is extremely unlikely he would have become trapped.”

Andy Dawkins, MD of Faccenda Foods, acccepted responsibility but claimed the company's track record was otherwise very good.

"The company immediately admitted responsibility and has given full co-operation to the HSE. Faccenda Foods takes its responsibility for health and safety very seriously.

"The court recognised Faccenda Foods’ overall safety record and acknowledged the equipment and systems already in place for managing health and safety. It also noted the commitment and actions undertaken by Faccenda Foods following the incident to ensure further improvements.”

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