Northern Irish feed company fined after worker’s injury

A Northern Ireland animal feed company was fined after a worker there suffered significant injury in a preventable workplace accident.

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Authorities have imposed significant fines on the company’s manager for breaching safety regulations that led to an employee losing part of an arm.

At Antrim Crown Court in Northern Ireland, Brian McGuckian of McGuckian Milling Co. pleaded guilty to two breaches of health and safety regulations, and was fined a total of GBP20,000 (US$24,400) after a worker at the feed mill suffered significant injury in the workplace. The company, based in Ballymena, manufactures animal feeds.

The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) after a worker needed to have his left arm amputated. On the day of the incident, the employee was attempting to remove a blockage from a holding bin in the blending plant when his arm was drawn into an unguarded screw auger conveyor.

Formal investigations revealed that McGuckian had failed to provide adequate information, instruction and training for the operation, use and maintenance of the work equipment, according to HSENI Inspector Gavin Rowan.

Rowan said the injury was preventable, and that the risk from the unguarded machinery should have been identified.

For the breach of an article in the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, McGuckian was fined GBP10,000. For the lack of an adequate guard on the auger conveyor, he was fined the same amount under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment (Northern Ireland) Regulations 1999.

Two years ago, another animal feed company based in the United Kingdom was fined for a similar safety breach. This came after a 2016 incident in which a cleaning worker needed to have a finger amputated.

After the death of an employee in 2011, a Scottish animal feed manufacturer was fined for an operational risk that was described as “foreseeable.”

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