€65,000 in fines handed down after worker loses arm


26th November 2010

Fines totalling €65,000 were handed down to Dawn Farm Food Limited at Naas Criminal Circuit Court today (Friday 26th November). The case involved serious injury to Mr. Stephen Burke, an employee of Dawn Farm Food Limited, The Maudlins, Naas, Co Kildare.

On the 23rd November 2007, Mr. Burke was seriously injured when his left forearm became entangled in machinery he was working on. 

Mr. Burke was employed as a general operative by Dawn Farm Foods for a period of 6 months at the time of the incident. He was working on the Wolf King grinding and blending line, the machinery in which he became entangled, for a period of 2 months prior to the incident.

On the morning of the incident the grinder and vertical auger were separated and being cleaned out by Stephen Burke. Part of his left hand became entangled in the screw of the vertical auger and was severed from his arm. He suffered an amputation of the left forearm and hand at mid forearm level.

The Court heard that there was a multiplicity of defects in the machinery being operated for the grinding and blending process at Dawn Farm Foods Ltd. The machinery was inadequately guarded and was unsafe for use. Emergency stops were not operating effectively, there were no labels on the operator control panel and there was no timed safety interlock to prevent access to moving parts.

There was no preventative maintenance or inspection of the machinery in the grinding and blending production line, faults previously noted in the machinery were not acted on.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing Martin O’Halloran, Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority said,

“All machinery should be used and maintained in a manner that will not compromise the safety of workers, this case highlights the devastating consequences of failing to do so.”