Nestlé fined £180,000 over death of worker

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A MAN was killed at a Nestlé factory because the company failed to implement basic safety measures, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.

Father of three Nazar Hussain died at food giant Nestlé’s Albion Mill plant in Bailey Hall Road, Halifax, in December 2008 after a colleague re-started a conveyor-type machine, known as a depalletiser, unaware that Mr Hussain was inside.

The court heard that Mr Hussain, 55, of Pear Street, Halifax, may have gone into the depalletiser to remove a blockage after large sweet tins had jammed the machine, causing the alarm to sound.

Later that day, the machine’s alarm sounded again and Mr Hussain’s co-worker, who had been covering his break, went to investigate. Being a large machine, he walked around it to check no one was inside. Seeing no one he re-started it but immediately it shuddered, stopped and the alarm re-sounded. Mr Hussain’s crouched body was discovered inside the machine. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The HSE investigation found that a safety key device to halt the machine was available but Nestlé failed to ensure its employees were aware of its purpose and how to use it correctly.

HSE said the company’s safety breaches were compounded by the fact Nestlé had received written advice about improving guarding on a palletiser back in 2002 but had not applied that advice to the machine operated by Mr Hussain.

Nestlé UK Ltd, of St George’s House, Croydon, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The firm was fined £180,000 and ordered to pay £41,826.33 in costs.

Mr Hussain’s daughter, Sameena, spoke of her family’s loss in a victim impact statement to court. She said:

“The death of my father came as a complete shock and my mother has been left in pieces by his death. She grieves to this day and still asks questions as to how and why it happened. My father was well-thought of in the community and helped his family and friends. Not only did he provide for the immediate family, but also his mother and family in Pakistan.

“Our lives have undergone a complete change, and for that we blame Nestle for not having the proper fail-safes in place to stop something like this occurring.”