NI butcher fined for horrific incident in which employee lost a finger in mincer

A Dungannon butchers has been fined £4,000 for health and safety breaches after an incident in which a young employee lost a finger in a mincer.

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Cathal Mallaghan

In a prosecution brought by Mid Ulster District Council, Clayton Moore, trading as M&W Farm Meats, and the butchery manager George Hamill, pleaded guilty to breaches of health and safety legislation, after the employee suffered serious and life changing injuries while attempting to clean a meat mincer machine which had not been isolated from its power source.

As a result, the young person suffered an amputation to their right index finger at the middle knuckle, while the middle knuckle of the right middle finger was shattered.

During sentencing at Dungannon Crown Court sitting remotely on Thursday, Judge Ramsey QC stated that this was a “difficult and heart-breaking case.”

Speaking on the outcome, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Cathal Mallaghan said: “This was a very unfortunate incident for all involved, especially as it could have been foreseen and subsequently prevented and the young victim in question would not be left with the life changing injuries he has today.

“This ruling should go some way in highlighting the importance among butchers and other users of dangerous equipment, of the benefits of establishing and putting safe systems of work into place.

“The result should act as a firm reminder to all similar businesses to isolate dangerous equipment from their power source after use and prior to cleaning and maintenance activities to avoid such devastating incidents occurring again in the future. However, this outcome will not reverse the life changing injuries with which the young person has been left and my thoughts today are very much with him and his family.”

Following the incident, all butchers within the Mid Ulster district have been visited by Environmental Health staff to assess compliance with health and safety legislation and to help ensure a similar incident does not happen again.

The company and the employee were also ordered to pay the Council’s legal costs of £7,625. The fines were adjusted to reflect the fact that these prosecution costs had to be paid.