Butchery Firm Fined After Knife Accident

A London-based butchery firm has been fined £2,750 after a worker suffered a serious arm injury due to not wearing the correct protective equipment. The company was also ordered to pay almost £3,700 in costs after a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 1 May 2013. During the hearing, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the firm had taken 29 days to report the incident – 19 days over the legal limit.

The accident happened when the employee was deboning a lamb shoulder. On his non-knife hand, he was wearing a chain mail glove that only covered his wrist, instead of the elbow-length gauntlet that should have been provided. According to the HSE, wearing such a gauntlet could have prevented the accident, which resulted in a deep cut to the forearm.

After the incident, the employee needed more than three months off work as well as a course of physiotherapy to regain the strength and movement in his left hand that he needed to return to work. Commenting on the case, HSE Inspector David Balfour said: ‘The deep, painful cut the butcher sustained was entirely preventable had he been wearing elbow- length chain mail gloves, which should have been provided by the company.’

The butchery firm pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, which oblige all employers to provide the personal protective equipment their staff need to control risks to their health and safety whilst at work.

Every year, dozens of workplace accidents happen because personal protective equipment is missing, substandard or inadequate. And employees who’ve been injured in these accidents are entitled to claim compensation – not just for their injuries, but for other related expenses, such as loss of earnings or the costs of treatment or therapy that aren’t available on the NHS.

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