Wakefield firm fined £1.4m after worker was crushed by machine

2 Sisters Food Group Limited is based at Trinity Park House on Fox Way, Wakefield.
2 Sisters Food Group Limited is based at Trinity Park House on Fox Way, Wakefield.

A Wakefield food processing company has been fined £1.4million after a worker was injured while unblocking a machine on the poultry slaughter line.

Doncaster Magistrates’ Court heard how, on September 6 2012, an employee of Wakefield's 2 Sisters Food Group Limited was attempting to clear a blockage on a conveying system at its Foxhills Industrial Estate site in Scunthorpe, when he was struck by a large metal stillage.

As a result, his 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 the company had failed to identify deficiencies in the guarding on the machine, and the clearing of blockages was usually carried out while the machine was still in operation.

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 and has been fined £1.4 million 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 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.”

A spokesman for 2 Sisters Food Group said: "We were extremely saddened by the injuries sustained by our colleague seven years ago at our Scunthorpe poultry site.

"The management team were deeply shocked that a fellow worker and friend going about his daily duties could be injured in this way.

"We have supported him fully with his rehabilitation and we were very pleased that he made such a good recovery and was able to return back to work in 2013.

"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."