Scottish sausage business fined £310K after two workers lost fingers

Mr Qua was operating a meat blender making cocktail sausages at a site for Browns Manufacturing in Prestwick, Ayrshire. He put his hand through a gap while emptying sausage meat when his fingers caught revolving metal paddles of the machine. This caused the middle finger of his right hand to be ripped off and left trapped in the machine. The stricken worker was rushed to hospital but the finger could not be reattached and he still suffers nightmares about his ordeal.

Mr Dunn was working in a Halls of Scotland factory grinding meat down for Lorne sausages when he noticed a blockage in the machine. He tried to clear it while the machine was operating but a rotating screw caught his hand and ripped off the tip of his right-hand ring finger. Mr Dunn was also taken to hospital but suffered no further complications.

An investigation revealed safety guards were not in place which would have prevented employees accessing moving parts. Both men had received limited training on how to operate the machines. Halls and Browns Manufacturing admitted breaching health and safety guidelines at Hamilton Sheriff Court. Halls admitted breaches between December 2018 and January 2019 while Browns admitted breaches between October 2015 and August 2016. Halls of Scotland are famous for a range of meat based products while Browns Manufacturing focuses on supplying the restaurant and hospitality trade with similar products.

Sheriff Douglas Brown fined Halls £120,000 and Browns £190,000 and gave them two years to pay after hearing profits had fallen by 25% due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Sheriff Brown said, "Both of these machines were capable of inflicting serious injury on any employee putting their hand near to them. It was submitted that both were isolated incidents but the fact that there was a second incident after the first must raise questions about health and safety practices. Both of these accidents were entirely avoidable had a safety guard been in place."

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