The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has led a prosecution against catching firm Victor Foster Poultry Services and Moy Park.
The prosecution came about following an HSENI investigation into an incident which occurred in 2017 that resulted in an employee receiving life changing crush injuries.
Both companies pleaded guilty to health and safety offences at an earlier hearing. On 11 February at Craigavon Crown Court, Moy Park Limited was fined £125,000, while Victor Foster Poultry Services was fined £18,000.
The investigation found that on 1 December 2017, a 31 year old male employee of Victor Foster Poultry Services was working along with others in a commercial chicken house at a site in Moira, County Down. While working in near dark conditions he received multiple crush injuries when he was struck by a forklift truck.
The only light sources in the chicken house at the time of the incident consisted of blue lights on the forklift truck, and head torches worn by the workers who had personally provided the equipment themselves. The workers were wearing dark blue overalls supplied by Moy Park.
Both companies were found to have failed in their legal responsibilities to ensure safe working conditions in the chicken house where a forklift truck was required to operate in the same area as pedestrian workers.
Speaking after the hearing, Anne Cassidy, HSENI Inspector said: “This was an avoidable incident that resulted in life changing injuries to an employee because the principles of managing workplace transport were not applied.
“The very real risks associated with forklift trucks are well known. In this particular case, reasonable measures to prevent vehicle collisions with workers were not in place in a work area where there was an increased risk due to the dark conditions.
“The risk assessment and safe working procedures did not identify suitable controls that could easily have been implemented.”