Butcher’s shop boss fined after man loses fingers
Published:  04 May, 2017

The boss of a Lancashire butcher’s faces a £3,500 fine and must pay £2,500 towards prosecution costs after one of his employees severely injured his right hand in a faulty mincing machine. 

Asif Nazir amputated his right thumb, index finger and the tip of his middle finger as a result of the accident. He also suffered lacerations to his middle finger.

He first reported the failing equipment at Maria’s Butcher in Nelson in May 2015, and a number of times after that to his employer, Nadeem Qasim, before his tragic accident in October 2015.

Qasim, 47, of Sackville Street in Brierfield, ran Maria’s Butcher within Maria’s Cash and Carry in Bradley Road, Nelson. On 28 April he pleaded guilty to two offences in October 2015.

At Preston Crown Court Qasim was given a suspended five months prison sentence and ordered to pay the fine, plus costs.

Summing up Judge Parry addressed Qasim, saying: “The machine’s guard was damaged to the point it was blatantly obvious that the blade was exposed. Also, the on/off switch was not working. Both in combination demonstrate how you completely abandoned your health and safety responsibilities.

“Sadly, a catastrophic injury occurred. You were in Pakistan in September 2015, but before you went, Mr Nazir told you again that the machine was faulty in two respects. Yet again you did nothing to fix it.

“On 29 October 2015, Mr Nazir turned the machine off and put his hand in the machine to clear meat out. The machine switched itself back on and his hand went through the mincer, amputating his right thumb, his right index finger and partially amputating the tip of the middle finger.

The judge explained that Nazir was right-handed, making his injury “all the more tragic”. He spent a week in hospital under the care of specialist plastic surgeons, undergoing very painful procedures.

The court heard that he was unable to fully interact with his children and unable to return to work as a butcher.

Philip Mousdale, Pendle Council’s corporate director, said: “Mr Qasim acted with total disregard for his employees, putting profit before safety.

“Please let this be a warning to others that turning a blind eye to health and safety can have catastrophic consequences.”