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Chivas Brothers fined £50,000 after accident

Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers arm has been ordered to pay a £50,000 (US$68,970) penalty after an engineer was crushed at its bottling plant.

Chivas Brothers produces blended Scotch Chivas Regal

Scotland’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has handed Chivas Brothers and the Fire Protection Group (FPG) a £50,000 fine each for breaching health and safety regulations between 20 December 2016 and 22 February 2017.

The companies pled guilty for the violation at Dumbarton Sheriff Court near Glasgow on 24 August 2021.

On 22 February 2017, an FPG engineer was trapped and crushed inside a vertical storage and retrieval unit at Chivas’ bottling facility in Kilmalid, Dumbarton.

According to COPFS, the engineer suffered crushing injuries to his right side, including the chest wall, shoulder and upper leg. He also sustained a cut to the top of his head when an extractor device pinned him to the ground.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Chivas Brothers had failed to give the necessary safety information to both its own staff and FPG employees working on the units.

The HSE said that this would have ensured that effective risk control measures were applied.

The HSE also noted that the FPG failed to carry out a ‘suitable and sufficient’ risk assessment for the inspection of fire suppression systems located inside the storage and retrieval unit.

Alistair Duncan, head of the health and safety investigation unit at COPFS, said: “This was a foreseeable accident resulting in injuries that could have been avoided if an agreed safe system of work had been in place and all relevant safety information had been shared.

“This prosecution and the sentence should serve to remind employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have serious consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”

Following the investigation, both companies have implemented new systems of working.

Chivas Brothers said in a statement: “The health and safety of everyone at our sites is our priority at Chivas Brothers. Immediately following the event, we conducted an internal investigation and worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive, promptly incorporating findings from the investigation into our safety management systems.

“We remain fully committed to ensuring that all Chivas Brothers workplaces maintain the very highest safety standards.”

Earlier this year, Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers unit was fined €40,000 (US$48,600) following an incident at its Cork warehouse that led to the death of a worker.

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