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News 174 views last update:7 Aug 2012

Pet food firm fined for death of employee

A worker at a pet food manufacturer's factory in the UK was crushed to death by a palletising machine, resulting in the firm being fined £100,000 (€111,600).

Butcher's Pet Care, of Baker Group House in the United Kingdom, was also ordered to pay costs of more than £28,000 (€31,250) after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 over the incident at its Crick Industrial Estate factory, Northamptonshire.
 
John O'Connor, 38, from Rugby, was killed after he entered the caged area via a gap in the fencing to reposition a jammed pallet. When he freed the pallet, the machine moved, trapped and killed him.
 
The machine should have been fully enclosed with an interlock system to prevent employees from gaining access while the power was on, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stated.
 
HSE inspector for Northamptonshire Neil Craig said the unfenced gap "had been there for nearly two years and it had become common practice for employees to nip through it to fix problems on the machine in an effort to keep the production line running".

Dick Ziggers

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