Bacon company faces huge fine after plant accident

Bacon processor Becketts Foods must pay £377k after a worker’s hand was crushed in a meat separating machine at the company’s Moat House base in Coventry.

Coventry Magistrates’ Court heard that on 11 May 2016 the 22-year-old worker was loading meat into the machine, when he fell and his hand entered the machine.

The worker suffered serious injuries to his hand which later required surgery and skin grafts.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to implement a safe system of work for separating the meat using this machinery. It was also found that the company failed to equip the machinery with the appropriate level of guarding to protect the workers from harm.

Becketts Foods Limited of Moat House, Aldermans Green, Coventry pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2 (1) and 33 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and has been fined £366,666 and ordered to pay costs of £10,978.09.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Christopher Maher said: “This case highlights the dangers of failing to assess risk. All duty holders must ensure that all dangerous machinery has the appropriate level of guarding in place to avoid serious injury like in this case.”

Becketts Foods claims to be the largest independent manufacturer and supplier of bacon products to foodservice customers, ranging from fine hotels to cruise liners. It also supplies top retail customers.

The company declared pre-tax profit of £4.6 million in the year to 31 December 2015, showing growth of 67% over the previous year. The business posted £96.3m in annual sales in 2015.

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