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Poultry companies fined over €170k for health and safety failings

Moy Park Limited, and Victor Foster Poultry Services Limited, have been fined for health and safety failings.

The two Co Down companies appeared before Craigavon Crown Court on Friday, February 11th, 2022.

The judge ordered Moy Park Limited to pay £125,000, while Victor Foster Poultry Services Limited received a fine to the tune of £18,000.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) successfully led the prosecution.

The case arose following an HSENI investigation into an incident in 2017 when an employee received life-changing crush injuries.

The investigation found that on December 1st, 2017, a 31-year-old male employee of Victor Foster Poultry Services Limited was working with others in a commercial chicken house at a site in Moira, County Down.

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While working in near dark conditions, he received multiple crush injuries when a forklift  struck him.

The court heard the only light sources in the chicken house at the time of the incident consisted of blue lights on the forklift and head torches, which employees had personally provided the equipment themselves.

Despite the “poorly lit” conditions, Moy Park Limited had supplied the workers with dark blue overalls.

The judge found both companies failed in their legal responsibilities to ensure safe working conditions in the chicken house.

A forklift truck operated in the same area as pedestrian workers.

Managing workplace transport

After the hearing, Anne Cassidy, HSENI Inspector, described the incident as “avoidable”.

She said the employee sustained life-changing injuries because the companies did not apply the principles of managing workplace transport.

“The very real risks associated with forklift trucks are well known,” she highlighted.

“In this particular case, reasonable measures to prevent vehicle collisions with workers were not in place in a work area where there was an increased risk due to the dark conditions.

She said the risk assessment and safe working procedures did not identify suitable controls that the company could “easily” have implemented.

She added that the principles of managing workplace transport exist to protect workers.

They fall into the three main areas of:

  • ‘Safe site’ which ensures effective segregation of vehicles from pedestrians;
  • Safe vehicle’, which considers the most appropriate vehicle for the task and environment;
  • ‘Safe driver’ which focuses on the competence and behaviour of those who operate vehicles.

Other court news:

Farmer (61) in court over cattle movement breaches

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