Meal firm fined six-figure sum after young worker injured

Well known Co. Armagh meal firm, Mason Animal Feeds, has been fined a six-figure sum in court after a 17-year-old worker was left with permanent injuries following an incident at its bagging plant.

The family-owned firm was today fined £120,000 and sentenced at Newry Crown Court after it was found to have failed to provide adequate safety measures on a chain and flight conveyor used to move animal feed from the mixing plant to the bagging area.

‘Trying to clear a blockage’

The firm – which is based on the Marlacoo Road, Portadown – was found guilty after a 17-year-old employee had his right arm dragged into the conveyor while trying to clear a blockage. The incident happened in August 2015.

As a result, the young man’s right arm and wrist were severely damaged – to the extent that he now has permanent injuries leaving him with very limited mobility in his hand and wrist.

Breaches and fines for Mason Animal Feeds Ltd are as follows:

  • Article 4(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978 – fine of £40,000;
  • Regulations 8 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (NI) 1999 – fine of £40,000;
  • Regulations 11 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (NI) 1999 – fine of £40,000;
  • And court costs of £976.00.

Health and Safety Excecutive Northern Ireland inspector Sean Keogh said: “Employers must ensure that all machinery is adequately guarded and that the employees are trained, competent and authorised to operate machinery.

“It is also essential that employers provide health and safety information to their employees that is clear and easily understood.”