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Chicken factory fined more than £275,000 after two employees lose fingers in machinery

PUBLISHED: 16:29 09 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:45 10 February 2019

2 Sisters Food Group Ltd has been fined more than £275,000 after two employees lost fingers. Photo: Steve Parsons.

2 Sisters Food Group Ltd has been fined more than £275,000 after two employees lost fingers. Photo: Steve Parsons.

A Norfolk food manufacturer has been fined more than £275,000 after two employees lost fingers in separate incidents.

2 Sisters Food Group Ltd has been fined more than £275,000 after two employees lost fingers. Photo: Steve Parsons.2 Sisters Food Group Ltd has been fined more than £275,000 after two employees lost fingers. Photo: Steve Parsons.

Poultry giant 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd appeared before Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, February 7, following accidents at its site in Grange Road, Flixton, Norfolk.

The court heard how on March 26, 2016 factory worker Romas Ciurlionis trapped his thumb in a moving shackle shortly after being shown how to remove chicken intestines.

As the line was running, he was pulled away from the emergency stop cord and when it moved past a fixed gate his thumb was severed.

A few months later, on August 23, 2016, Darren Hamilton entered an area of the factory that should have had the power isolated before cleaning began.

2 Sisters Food Group Ltd has been fined more than £275,000 after two employees lost fingers. Photo: Steve Parsons.2 Sisters Food Group Ltd has been fined more than £275,000 after two employees lost fingers. Photo: Steve Parsons.

The safe system of work was not followed and the shackle line was still running when his finger became trapped.

As he could not reach the emergency stop his finger was severed.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) subsequently conducted investigations into the incidents and the company and found 2 Sisters had “failed to ensure that measures were in place to mitigate the consequences of a worker becoming entrapped in a shackle in the first instance and that they failed to ensure safe isolation procedures were followed in the second”.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Works Equipment Regulations 1998 in relation to the first incident and has been fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,031.83.

In respect of the second incident, 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 and has been fined £74,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,386.52.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Saffron Turnell said: “These incidents could so easily have been avoided had appropriate controls been in place.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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