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Worker death at abattoir caused by collapsed steel door

Posted in: Workplace Injuries 

An abattoir in Galashiels has been fined after being found guilty of two health and safety breaches which led to the death of one of its workers. The owners of Scottish Borders Abattoir Ltd were fined £100,000 after being found guilty by a jury at Jedburgh Sherriff Court. They originally denied the charges.

48-year-old David Barker from Selkirk died in an accident at the abattoir in January 2011. It was heard that he had been in a storage container, loosening the fixings of a steel partition door, when the door collapsed and trapped him by the neck. He died from the injuries. 

It was found in court that the company had failed to provide instruction, information, training, and supervision to ensure the health and safety of staff. The company was also convicted of failing to carry out a risk assessment of the task that had been performed by Mr Barker.

A third charge

During the trial, the Crown dropped a third charge; a charge of failing to carry out risk assessments between 2006 and 2011 for tasks unrelated to food management safety at the abattoir.

The defence lawyer, however, highlighted that Mr Barker had only been asked to remove boxes from the container.  She said that he unscrewed the fastenings without permission to do so. 

After two hours of debate, the jury still returned a majority guilty verdict on both of the charges.

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