Probe Into Abattoir Death Horror
By Clare Carswell
A MAN has died in a horror accident at an abattoir in the Borders.
Emergency services raced to the scene after the alarm was raised by the man’s shocked colleagues just after 11am today (Tues).
David Barker was crushed to death by a falling metal partition as he cleared a room at the Scottish Borders Abattoir in Winston Road, Galashiels.
Mr Barker, 48, from Selkirk, was working on his own when the accident happened and was only discovered when a concerned worker went to find him.
George Miller, a director of the firm, from Jedburgh, said earlier reports that Mr Barker had been killed by a meat hook were inaccurate.
He said: “He was working for us a handyman. He was working by himself clearing out a box room. A heavy metal partition fell on him. He was discovered when someone went to look for him.”
He said Mr Barker had worked for the firm for some time, originally as a driver but more recently as a handyman.
He said: “We are very sorry and upset this has happened. It was just a tragic accident.”
Louise Stephen, 44, is the manageress at The Arms Inn in Selkirk. She worked with Mr Barker three years ago for G4 Security for various events quite often in Edinburgh.
She described the reaction to his death as “total shock”.
She said: “Everybody I’ve spoken to is in total shock because quite a few people knew him. I knew him when we worked in security together three years ago.
“I’m totally shocked. He was a great guy, he had a great sense of humour, an honest man, he was very fair. A great guy to work for.
“People here are devastated.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service confirmed they attended at the incident but were not required to take anyone to hospital.
Lothian and Borders Police immediately sealed off the site while an investigation got underway.
The Health and Safety Executive were also called in to begin their own probe into just what caused the fatal accident to happen.
A spokeswoman said: “HSE is aware of the incident and making inquiries. Inspectors have been on site today.”
Just last year the abattoir –which has been trading since 1980 – hit the headlines over claims it has been storing mouldy sides of beef close to its fresh meat.
It was also charged with failing to comply with food hygiene regulations by not protecting fresh meat from the risk of contamination.
The offences were allegedly committed Between April 28, 2008 and July 29, 2009, then denied by the firm.
The case had been set down to be heard at Selkirk Sheriff Court on February 8.
But the company was fined £2000 in November after it pleaded guilty to one charge related to its failure to comply with an earlier Remedial Action Notice.
In February 2008, it was fined £9500 after admitting five offences over a six month period.
The firm pleaded guilty to one hygiene charge, two labelling offences and two incidents of cows over 30 months being slaughtered alongside animals under 30 months old, exposing the potential risk of BSE.
Not guilty pleas to six other charges were accepted by the Crown.
In January 2007 the abattoir was also forced to appeal a decision by the Food Standards Agency to refuse it a licence after a failed hygiene inspection.
In November 2006 Lothian and Borders Police were forced to order a sharp horned Highland bullock to be shot after it bolted from the abattoir.
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