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Maker of Chivas Regal fined £50,000 after engineer crushed in machine

The whisky maker admitted breaching health and safety rules over the incident at its plant in Dumbarton in 2017.

Thomas Hornall
Monday 06 September 2021 18:26 BST
Whisky maker Chivas has been fined over a health and safety breach at its plant in Dumbarton (Jane Barlow/PA)
Whisky maker Chivas has been fined over a health and safety breach at its plant in Dumbarton (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

A Scotch whisky giant has been fined £50,000 after an engineer was crushed by machinery in a “foreseeable accident”.

Chivas Brothers Ltd, which makes Chivas Regal, last month admitted breaching health and safety laws at its bottling plant in Kilmalid, Dumbarton after the incident on February 22 2017, said the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

On that day, an engineer from the Fire Protection Group Ltd (FPG) was trapped and crushed inside a machine.

The FPG also admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on August 24, the COPFS added.

Both companies were fined £50,000 on Monday, a court official confirmed.

The scene of the accident at the plant in Kilmalid in Dumbarton (COPFS/PA)

The engineer, who has not been named, suffered injuries to his chest, shoulder and leg, as well as a cut on his head when he was pinned to the ground by an extractor device in the machine, the COPFS said.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the FPG had failed to carry out a thorough risk assessment for inspecting the fire suppression systems inside the machine unit.

The probe also found Chivas Brothers failed to give the necessary safety information to its own employees and FPG employees working on the units.

Alistair Duncan, head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit at the 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.”

Both companies cooperated fully with the investigation and “have implemented new systems of working since the accident”, the prosecution service said.

A spokesman for Chivas Brothers Ltd said: “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 HSE, 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.”

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