Premier fined after accident

Posted on 20 Sep 2010 by The Manufacturer

The UK’s largest food manufacturer, Premier Foods, has been ordered to pay over £20,000 after a worker at its Manor Bakeries site was seriously injured.

In the incident in July 2008, maintenance engineer Thomas Williams and a colleague were removing concrete pillars at the site by cutting them free with an angle grinder. One came free unexpectedly and hit Mr Williams, causing him severe traumatic brain and spinal injuries and hospitalizing him for six months. He now reports difficulties in moving and speaking and his wife is his full time carer.

The incident was investigated by independent regulator the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) which then sought prosecution, citing Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

“A man’s life has been turned upside down because basic health and safety procedures weren’t followed. Mr Williams has been permanently disabled from his injuries and will never be able to return to work,” said Phil Redman, investigating inspector at HSE.

“Premier Foods could have brought in specialists to carry out the work but instead Mr Williams and a colleague were just told to get on with the job.

“Mr Williams did not have any previous experience of carrying out this kind of work, and he should not have been put in a position where he had to make decisions about how to do it. There really is no excuse for a company the size of Premier Foods to make this kind of error when it comes to health and safety.”

Premier Foods said it “sincerely regrets” what happened and has taken steps to prevent a similar incident occurring in the future.

The company was ordered by a Magistrates’ court to pay a fine of £14,000 and costs of £6,808.