Bernard Matthews fined £300,000 after machine sucked worker paralyzed

Bernard Matthews fined £300,000 after machine sucked worker paralyzed

Bernard Matthews was fined £300,000 after a worker at the company’s Suffolk business was paralyzed after being sucked into a machine.

The firm admitted a breach of the health and safety at work regulations and was fined £300,000

Colin Frewin sustained severe injuries in January 2020 while attempting to extract a turkey from the bottom of a machine at the company’s Suffolk facility.

The 54-year-old worker was entrusted with cleaning a big screw conveyor used to transfer and chill turkeys, when he discovered a single turkey trapped at the bottom. When attempting to remove it with a squeegee, he was so immersed in the machine.

The emergency stop was only activated when a colleague realised he was gone and heard his cries for assistance.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found an unsafe system of work at the firm meant the chillers continued to run as Mr Frewin when to dislodge the blockage

An examination by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that a dangerous method of work at the company, which would supply millions of Brits with their Christmas turkeys, caused the chillers to continue running as Mr. Frewin attempted to clear the blockage.

The company admitted to violating health and safety standards and was fined £300,000.

The incident involving Mr Frewin was heard at Chelmsford Crown Court (pictured)

After the incident, Mr. Frewin spent six months in the hospital, three of which were spent in an induced coma, and was left permanently paralyzed.

His injuries included a perforated left lung, many broken ribs, four damaged vertebrae, and a spinal hemorrhage.

Mr. Frewin told the Chelmsford Crown Court in a victim impact statement, “I will never walk again, so I will be in a wheelchair indefinitely.”

The firm supplies around seven million turkeys a year and was built by the son of a car mechanic Bernard Matthews

“I now have a suprapubic catheter that was implanted surgically.” The district nurse must administer regular bowel care and make daily house calls.

‘I also have AD, a life-threatening illness in which my body does not recognize when I am ill.

I have relocated from my apartment with a view of the ocean to a bungalow. I miss seeing the ocean and being in close proximity to the beach and all of its advantages. I feel alone because I cannot go out whenever I want because I require assistance.’

I cannot spend as much time with my friends and family as I used to since my wheelchair cannot fit inside their homes.

“Physical relationships are extremely challenging because I am unable to leave the house much. The accident has altered my life and the lives of my family.

Five months ago, on August 12, 2019, a turkey deboning line at the same plant had to be shut down due to a malfunction, resulting in the relocation of staff to a surplus production line.

An inquiry by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that an unsafe method of work at the company caused the chillers to continue operating as Mr. Frewin attempted to clear the blockage.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard testimony regarding the incident involving Mr. Frewin (pictured)

During operations on the surplus production line, one of the wings became entangled in the machine’s conveyor belt.

Adriano Gama, an employee, attempted to move it out of the way, but his gloved hand became entangled in the exposed sprocket of the conveyer as he did so.

The 34-year-old was eventually released and sustained a broken arm and forearm muscle injuries as a result.

An HSE inquiry revealed that pre-start checks were only performed on manufacturing lines that day. This meant that there was no procedure in place to ensure that the deboning line was inspected prior to being placed into operation.

Two safety guards were removed, and a team leader reported this to the engineering team, but no action was taken.

In the matter of Mr. Gama, Bernard Matthews Food Ltd of Sparrowhawk Road, Halesworth, Suffolk, pled guilty to contravening section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £100,000.

The company was also had to pay £15,000 in respect to the two cases, for a total of £415,000 in penalties.

Principal Inspector of the HSE, Adam Hills, stated, ‘Both accidents should have been avoided; the implications for Mr. Frewin in particular were terrible.

‘Had Bernard Matthews acted to identify and manage the dangers and implement a safe system of work, they could have been easily avoided.

The company, founded by the son of a car mechanic, Bernard Matthews, supplies over seven million turkeys annually.

Fundamentally, you should not clean an operating equipment.

“Companies must ensure that risk assessments include tasks such as cleaning and blockages and that, when necessary, isolation and lockout devices are in place for these activities.”

Prior to usage, you can do pre-use inspections, and if flaws such as missing guards are discovered, they must be duly reported, tracked, corrected, and closed out.

The company was founded by the son of a car mechanic, Bernard Matthews, who supplies seven million turkeys annually. At the age of eighteen, he acquired twenty turkey eggs for one shilling apiece and then bought a paraffin oil incubator.

In the 1950s, he paid £3,000 bought Great Witchingham Hall in Norfolk and stocked its 35 rooms with turkeys.

While he and his wife resided in two unheated rooms, turkeys were hatched in the dining room, raised in the beds, and butchered in the kitchens, eventually leading to the establishment of a well-known firm and brand.

At the time of his death in 2010, Mr. Matthews had acquired an estimated £300 million fortune.

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