Dunbia (Preston) Limited has been handed fines and costs totalling more than £266,000 after pleading guilty for failing to ensure the removal of specified parts of the animals required by law, referred to as “specified risk material”.
The fine is the most significant to be handed out to a UK meat producer and is for failures to comply with the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) Regulations 2010.
FSA inspectors found a sheep without a fully removed spleen and a cow that had not had its spinal cord fully removed. The final charge was for two sheep heads with permanent incisors erupted which were incorrectly identified as lambs and therefore destined for human consumption instead of disposal.
After pleading guilty, Dunbia received a reduced £250,000 fine for the three offences and was ordered to pay full prosecution costs of £16,121.42 and a victim surcharge of £170.
The written judgement from HHJ Woolman was issued on Monday 25 March following a sentencing hearing which took place at Preston Crown Court on Monday 11 March.
TSE regulations help to reduce risk from a group of brain diseases that cattle, sheep and goats are vulnerable to by requiring correct removal and disposal of specific parts of those animals before they enter the food chain. The most widely recognised of these diseases is BSE in cattle (referred to as ‘mad cow disease’), which has been linked to the human TSE diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
Dr Colin Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer at the FSA said:
“This very significant fine underlines just how seriously breaches of these regulations are taken.
“It is vitally important for consumers and the wider industry that they are followed and public health is protected. The FSA will continue to investigate and prosecute any food businesses we find failing to uphold them.”
“However, I should put on record that since the start of court proceedings Dunbia has signed up to our enhanced assurance initiative which involves working more closely with the company using data from a range of different audits and other data to help demonstrate compliance with official controls.”
Young farmers with outstanding ideas for running a successful farm whilst caring for the environment and local water and air quality have been awarded the prestigious Great Farm Challenge Award 2019.
Ideas brought forward in this year’s competition included using a tramline to reduce the risk of water pollution and methods to stop cattle from drinking directly out of rivers to avoid damage to river banks.
Natural England’s Catchment Sensitive Farming team, the Environment Agency and water companies for the areas involved - Severn Trent, Anglian Water and United Utilities – have awarded students from agricultural colleges from across the East of England, the North West and the West Midlands with the prestigious prize.
Regional award ceremonies were held last week in recognition of over 150 young agricultural students’ collaborative and innovative solutions to future farming.
The young farmers worked together on projects to assess and address the impact of different farm practices on their local natural environment and farm business. These projects were then developed into plans and presented to a panel of judges, with the participants demonstrating how they would care for the environment and run a successful farm whilst protecting local water and air quality.
This year Natural England are proud to announce that the regional winners and runners-up impressed the judging panel comprising representatives from Natural England, Environment Agency, water companies and Young Farmers’ Clubs with their plans for managing a successful farm. The young farmers focused on minimising run-off from pesticides, nutrients and suspended solids such as sediment and algae that can be problematic for aquatic life, whilst also looking at ways to improve air quality and use water wisely on the farm.
Geoff Sansome, Natural England’s Head of Agriculture, said:
It’s great to see so many young people engaged and positive about the future of farming. It’s even better that they so clearly understand the challenges of diffuse water pollution. This is good farming that is good for the environment, planned at a landscape scale - this is the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan being put into practice.
The students have gone above and beyond to find practical solutions for protecting water and air quality, assets and skills that will serve them well as tomorrow’s successful farmers.
Using a case study farm, some of the agricultural students discovered the management of tramlines could be an effective way to reduce the risk of sediment and phosphorus pollution of surface water. These young farmers presented their plans to change the direction of the tramlines to reduce the amount of sediment and pesticides moving into the water course from crop spraying, and advised the farmer to plough across slopes to avoid tramlines moving down slope. To avoid soil run-off into the water course, the students also proposed adding grass or vegetative buffer strips or crop parallel to the water course to catch sediments and pesticides.
James Eckely, National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs Chief Officer, said:
NFYFC is delighted that Leicestershire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs chairman and dairy farmer Alistair Hughes was part of the judging panel for an event that challenges young agricultural students to find solutions to improve water and air quality on farms.
YFC members are aware of the challenges, demands and opportunities ahead for their farming future and NFYFC commends the achievements of this collaborative project.
Notably, one college discovered the farm had not conducted soil testing in 15 years. Soil testing should be conducted every three years and is important for efficient nutrient management and for the assessment and minimisation of pollution of surface and ground water to conserve water quality, caused by agricultural practices.
Others looked at ways to prevent cattle from drinking directly from the river to avoid poaching and river bank damage, and came up with the solution of using water bays for cattle to drink from instead of the river.
The students noted that farmers could seek advice from their local Catchment Sensitive Farming Officers to find out what grants are available to help fund some of these actions.
Madeleine Gardner, Environment Agency Environmental Specialist, said:
I’m delighted to see the Environment Agency and Catchment Sensitive Farming team working alongside water companies and agricultural colleges across England to reward young agriculturalists for thinking about ways to protect local water quality.
I’m proud to be a part of the Great Farm Challenge and help to educate the next generation of farmers to think sustainably, and by sharing good water quality practices we’re reducing the issue of poor water quality – improving the local environment and farm businesses.
This year marks the 8th Great Farm Challenge. Since the Challenge started in 2011, over 1,170 students and land managers have engaged and got involved in improving water and air quality through best practice on farms.
Catchment Sensitive Farming is a partnership between Natural England, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Environment Agency.
The Great Farm Challenge is a joint partnership, led by Natural England, Defra, Environment Agency and regional water companies Severn Trent, Anglian Water and United Utilities. As a collective, the partnership continues to nurture the next generation of farmers and encourage strategic solutions for our young farmers to carry throughout their careers.
Richard Reynolds, Anglian Water’s Senior Agronomist, said:
The Great Farm Challenge is a really important initiative and provides the farmers and advisors of the future with a practical and rewarding experience that will help develop their skills and techniques for protecting the water environment.
It is vital that the farming sector focuses on issues like pesticide run-off, nutrient management and watercourse protection if we are to continue delivering world-class produce whilst protecting drinking water sources and wildlife.
I was really impressed with the standard of the students taking part in the challenge and I look forward to working with them in the future. Huge congratulations to the winners and everyone else who took part. It’s important that we continue to support up and coming students and the Great Farm Challenge is an excellent way to do so.
Una McBride, Agricultural Advisor at Severn Trent, said:
We’re delighted to have been part of the Great Farm Challenge for the past eight years. It’s a great way for us to engage directly with the farmers of the future, raising their awareness of the whole water journey, from farm to tap and, the opportunities for farming businesses to thrive whilst protecting our water environment. It’s really encouraging to see so many of our future farmers so enthused about incorporating good water quality practices in to their own farming systems.
Clare Bullen, Strategy Development Manager at United Utilities, said:
We’re delighted to be involved in this challenge as it is a great way to influence the next generation of farmers about how they can help us to care for the environment without impacting on their farm business.
By creating the awareness of good water quality practices we will hopefully avoid problems in the future which could lead to increased water treatment costs and potentially affect the bill paying customer.
A food processing company, 2 Sisters Food Group, has today been sentenced after a worker was injured while unblocking a machine on the poultry slaughter line.
Doncaster Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 6 September 2012, an employee of 2 Sisters Food Group Limited was attempting to clear a blockage on a conveying system at its Foxhills Industrial Estate site in Scunthorpe, when he was struck by a large metal stillage. As a result, his body was crushed at chest height against the end of the unit, and he sustained multiple injuries including several fractured ribs, fractures to his back and a punctured lung.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to identify deficiencies in the guarding on the machine, and the clearing of blockages was usually carried out while the machine was still in operation.
2 Sisters Food Group Limited of Trinity Park House, Fox Way, Wakefield pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £1.4 million with £38,000 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Kirsty Storer said: “The employee’s life-threatening injuries could easily have been prevented had the company identified the guarding deficiencies and put in place simple measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.
“This should serve as a lesson to others in the food processing industry about the importance of effectively guarding their machinery to stop others being similarly injured.”ere to edit.
Employees could face a criminal prosecution if they access or share personal data without a valid reason, the Information Commissioner’s Office has warned.
The warning came after Birmingham Magistrates' Court fined two workers in separate cases for breaching data protection laws.
Faye Caughey, 32, of Ringswood Road, Solihull was employed at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) when she unlawfully accessed the personal records of 14 individuals between February 2017 and August 2017.
The Court heard that as part of her job, Ms Caughey was authorised to access records of adults on two separate systems – HEFT’s iCare and CareFirst from Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.
But an internal investigation found that Ms Caughey viewed personal data of seven family members on iCare and seven children known to her on CareFirst. There was no business need for her to do this and so, she broke data protection law.
Ms Caughey pleaded guilty to breaching s55 and s60 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA1998) when she appeared at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on 15 March 2019. She was fined £1,000, with a £50 victim surcharge, and was ordered to pay £590 towards prosecution costs.
In a separate case, the Court heard that Jayana Morgan Davis, 32, of Wood Green Road, Birmingham forwarded several work emails containing personal data of customers and other employees to her personal email account in August 2017, weeks before resigning from her role at V12 Sports and Classics Ltd.
At Birmingham Magistrates' Court on 15 March 2019, Ms Morgan Davis admitted to three offences of unlawfully obtaining personal data in breach of s55 and s60 of the DPA1998. She was fined £200, with a £30 victim surcharge, and was ordered to pay £590 towards prosecution costs.
Mike Shaw, who heads up the criminal investigations team at the ICO, said:
“People expect that their personal information will be treated with respect and privacy. Unfortunately, there are those who abuse their position of trust and the ICO will take action against them for breaking data protection laws.”
A manufacturing company today has been fined after a worker’s hand was caught in machinery.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how, on the 5 July 2017, an employee of Contour Showers Ltd, Winsford, was trying to clear a blockage from a metal cutting saw, when the blade cut through the knuckle of his left index finger damaging the tendon and ligament, such that he was unable to work for 8 months.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that there was inadequate guarding to prevent access to dangerous parts of the machinery and that training had not been provided on isolation, lock-off procedures and safe systems of work during maintenance activities. The investigation also found the Company had failed to identify the risks associated with inadequately guarded machinery.
Contour Showers Ltd of Winsford, Cheshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and fined £14,000 with £5473.21 costs.
HSE inspector Lorna Sherlock said after the case: “This injury was easily preventable. Employers should make sure they properly assess risk and apply effective control measures to minimise the risk from dangerous parts of machinery”.
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A 24 year-old man has been ordered to pay nearly £5,000 after being found guilty of transporting controlled waste without a waste carriers licence.
On 27 February 2019, at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, Gyula Ruszo was fined £1,760, ordered to pay Environment Agency Costs of £2,995 as well as a victim surcharge of £170.
Mr Ruszo, of Kennington Road Nottingham, was caught transporting controlled waste without a licence during Operation Transporter, a multi-agency road stop on the A612 at Burton Joyce, Nottinghamshire. Police directed him to pull in at the layby checkpoint where his vehicle was examined and Mr Ruszo was interviewed by an Environment Agency officer.
The vehicle was seized by police as it was found to be un-roadworthy, had no MOT and the driver Mr Ruszo had no insurance. The van was carrying various items of scrap metal including a copper hot water tank, lengths of copper piping, a washing machine, lead flashing and a metal lawn mower.
Anyone transporting waste as part of their normal business, whether it is their waste or someone else’s, has to have a Waste Carriers Licence.
This was the second hearing of the case after Mr Ruszo failed to turn up to the first hearing in January 2019. The case was rearranged for 27 February 2019, but Mr Ruszo again failed to attend and the case was heard in his absence.
Speaking after the case, Waste Regulatory Specialist Iain Regan, who is lead for Operation Transporter in the Environment Agency said:
This is an excellent result for the Environment Agency, which we are pleased to share with our professional partners; the Police and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency who we work closely with on Op Transporter.
This case makes it clear to anyone who may be in any doubt about the need to register for a licence to carry waste that if you transport waste in Nottinghamshire you may be stopped and your waste carrier registration checked. The penalties for failing to have a waste carriers licence can be significant and it is not worth the risk. Registration can be applied for easily on-line, or by phone.
We want householders and businesses to only use licensed waste carriers which offers greater assurance that any waste will be properly and legally managed. We hope that cases such as this one show legitimate waste carriers that we are taking action against the rogue traders and free riders.
A skip hire company owner who was duped by a rogue waste collector has been ordered to pay nearly £25,000
Owner/operator Robert Walker of Bob’s Skips in Basildon, Essex, failed to check the legitimacy of a haulier who claimed to be working for a genuine haulage company. The driver did not work for the company and was using fake waste transfer notices. The waste was later found fly-tipped at 4 different locations in Essex.
Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard today that the rogue trader had made a cold call to Walker’s company looking for something to fill his lorry for a return journey.
Mrs Sarah Dunne, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told magistrates that Walker, 54, of Whitmore Way, Basildon, arranged 4 of these deliveries.
She told the court that Walker had asked for waste transfer notices but made no further enquiries about the legitimacy of the company and failed to notice the forms were not filled in properly.
He also had no idea where the waste was being taken nor did he check that it had arrived at its destination - all part of his duty of care. Due to the inaccurate nature of the paperwork, it was not possible to trace the lorry or the driver.
Mrs Dunne said Walker had been reckless and breached the duty of care he had when managing waste.
This unlawful waste disposal could have been prevented if the code of practice had been followed.
By breaching his duty of care, he avoided the costs and taxes involved in sending waste to a permitted site.
After the hearing, Environment Agency officer Tom Pickover said:
We hope this sends out a clear message to waste operators that they cannot take a cavalier approach to its disposal.
The duty of care rules are there to protect the environment and legitimate traders who want to do a good job of disposing of waste properly.
Walker was fined £10,000, ordered to pay £8,300 towards the costs of the clean-up of the fly-tipped rubbish and £6,532 in costs. There was also a £30 victim surcharge.
The Global Privacy Enforcement Network's (GPEN) annual intelligence gathering operation looked at how well organisations have implemented the core concepts of accountability into their own internal privacy policies and programmes.
The joint study, known as the 'GPEN sweep', is carried out by data protection regulators across the globe and this year looks at how they have taken responsibility for complying with data protection laws.
Whilst there were examples of good practice, it was found that a number of organisations had no processes in place to deal with the complaints and queries raised by data subjects, and were not equipped to handle data security incidents appropriately.
ICO Head of Intelligence, Adam Stevens, said:
“The findings suggest that whilst organisations contacted by the ICO and our international partners have a good understanding of the basic concept of accountability, in practice there is significant room for improvement.
“It is important that organisations have appropriate technical and organisational measures in place. This includes having clear data protection policies, taking a ‘data protection by design and default’ approach and continuing to review and monitor performance and adherence to data protection rules and regulations.”
Participating GPEN members made contact with 356 organisations in 18 countries during the ‘sweep’ and came to the following conclusions:
In terms of national findings, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) made contact with 28 organisations across various sectors in the UK, and came to the following conclusions:
As a result of the investigation, individual GPEN members may contact organisations in their own countries to assess what remedial action they need to take to improve user controls over their personal information.
A chemical manufacturing company has today been fined after failing to manage the risk of exposure to chemicals harmful to health, resulting in workers being exposed to chemicals which caused long term damage to their skin.
Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how employees working with chemicals at Fine Organics Ltd (now trading as Lianhetec), Seals Sands, Teesside, were regularly exposed to the chemicals, which can cause sensitisation of the skin, from October 2013 to December 2016. Workers suffered rashes and in some cases were unable to continue working at the site.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Fine Organics Ltd had multiple failings in their handling of hazardous substances. They failed to conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, failed to prevent the release of hazardous substances, failed to prevent spread of contamination, failed to properly decontaminate and they failed to have in place an effective system of health surveillance.
Fine Organics Ltd, of Seals Sands, Teesside, pleaded guilty to breaching 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has been fined £224,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,098.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Julian Nettleton said: ‘This was a case where the company failed to assess the risk and failed to implement appropriate control measures to manage the risk of exposure to these chemicals. If this had been done, then workers would not have been exposed to the chemicals and suffered harm as a result.
Construction company Rivergate Developments Ltd was sentenced today for safety breaches after worker Nathan Howes fell 2.7 metres through an open stairwell.
Leeds Magistrates’ court heard how, on 31 May 2017, Mr Howes, aged 26, was working on the upper floor of a cricket club in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire which was under refurbishment. Mr Howes was removing a ‘genie lift’ from the forks of a lift truck, so that steel beams could be lifted into place, when he stepped backwards and fell through the stairwell opening. Mr Howes sustained multiple injuries including a fractured spine, a fractured skull and a small collapse of one of his lungs, and was hospitalised for six days. Mr Howes still attends physiotherapy as outpatient and has not yet been able to return to work.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Rivergate Developments Ltd had carried out a risk assessment which identified there would be gaps in the floor through which a person could fall. However, they failed to put in place any measures to either prevent or mitigate the consequences of a fall. Such measures include the use of fixed edge protection systems to prevent falls or the use of fall arrest bags to mitigate falls.
Rivergate Developments Ltd of Rivergate House, Carrhill Road, Mossley, Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £1,020 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Jayne Towey commented: “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.
“This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”
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