UK: Cargill loses Court of Appeal challenge

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© istock.com/fintastique
© istock.com/fintastique

Related tags: Occupational safety and health

Cargill has failed to win its appeal over a fine it was ordered to pay in a UK case involving the death of a worker. 

Cargill Plc was fined £600,000 ($918,912) in Liverpool Crown Court in April last year following the death of a lorry driver at the Cargill terminal at Seaforth Dock in Liverpool in September 2012.

The agribusiness giant subsequently challenged the size of the fine handed down. However, the Court of Appeal in London did not find ground to support Cargill’s appeal, which it rejected yesterday.

And Cargill said it accepts that Court’s decision.

The company said it had chosen to appeal its sentencing fine, which was levied in April 2015, on the basis that the judge in the original case, in Cargill's opinion, did not follow applicable sentencing guidelines:

“While we accepted responsibility, our view was that the fine imposed was significantly higher than that which is specified under the sentencing guidelines and relevant case law and did not fully take into account our willingness to work closely with the HSE and the significant investments and progress we had made to minimise risks,”​ Wendy Garbutt, spokeswoman for Cargill EMEA, told FeedNavigator today.

Risk reduction

And Cargill went on to say that health and safety remains one of its top priorities. “We constantly look at how we can redesign our processes and procedures to reduce and eliminate risks,” ​said Garbutt.

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had carried out an inquiry into the September 2012 incident.

That agency said Malcolm Harrison was working at the Cargill terminal at Seaforth Dock in Liverpool, when a stockpile of soy meal collapsed on him. The 64-year-old subsequently died of his injuries in hospital.

Cargill was charged with breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974, which states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”

Protein Feeds fatality

In another UK case involving a feed site fatality, a director of feed manufacturer, Protein Feeds Ltd, was fined £75,000 ($113k) in November last year.

Neville Bloss, a driver for the cattle feed supplier, which is based in Suffolk, died after he was hit by a JCB driven by director Adrian Herrmann, heard Norwich Crown Court.

The court was told Bloss, who was aged 53, had been taking samples of animal feed when the accident happened and he died at the scene on December 19, 2011 from crush injuries to his chest.

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) brought the case to court following an investigation by worker safety agency, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Protein Feeds had been charged with breaching health and safety regulations by not ensuring the safety of its employees. The company admitted health and safety violations part way through the trial.

Herrmann, 56, of Old Station Road, Halesworth, was also found guilty by a jury of perverting the course of justice by trying to cover up poor working practices by providing falsified documents - a charge he had denied.

Herrmann and Protein Foods were each fined £75,000.

Herrmann was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He also was told to observe a four-month curfew and was ordered to pay £5,600 in costs.

Related topics: Regulation

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