Knife injury claim against Cookstown meat processing plant dismissed

Vion Cookstown.INMM4712-207ar.
Vion Cookstown.INMM4712-207ar.

The High Court of Justice has dismissed an accusation of negligence and breach of statutory duty against Vion Foods , following an injury to a worker at their meat processing plant in Cookstown.

The plaintiff, Melvin Fulton, now 23, sustained a severe cut to his right index finger in the course of his work in the boning hall in June 10 2009.

Then aged 18, he was moving a tray of cut meat when the knife - provided by the company - came into contact with his hand causing nerve and tendon damage.

Mr Fulton accepted that he was provided with a scabbard for the knife as well as protective gloves, however, he alleged that it was the “general practice” to not put the knives in the scabbard when moving the trays.

The plaintiff also said that there had been a hole in his glove which he had reported but continued working for some 45 minutes until the injury occurred.

He further alleged that it was his first day on the main line and, having spent five months on the trainee line, he was “put under pressure of time in his attempts to keep up with the pace of work”.

The court rejected Mr Fulton’s allegation that he had reported a defect to his glove, and stated that he “knew as a result of the induction course...that working with a glove with a hole in it was dangerous” meaning that the plaintiff was in breach of a statutory duty.

The court stated that the accusation of breach of statutory duty was also rejected, stating that “the only person who knew of, or who could have known, of this obvious defect was the plaintiff (and) he did nothing about it”.

The judge further rejected the case of negligence on the behalf of the defendant, stating that Vion Foods “took every practical step for the health and safety of the palintiff”.

The court also rejected the plaintiff’s evidence pertaining to time spent on a trainee line, stating that there was no designated training line and that he under no more pressure of time.

Special damages were agreed to the tune of £381.26, but the general damages of £25,000 were not.