Kettle Produce worker strangled by factory machine

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Kettle Produce admits to failures after hygiene worker was dragged into the machine. Credit: Getty/nirat
Kettle Produce admits to failures after hygiene worker was dragged into the machine. Credit: Getty/nirat

Related tags health & safety

The producer of fresh and prepared vegetables has admitted a guilty plea, saying that ‘lessons have been learned’ after one of its employees was caught in a carrot baton machine and choked unconscious.

Kettle Produce hygiene worker, Remigiusz Cyrek (37), was dragged into the machine at the Orkie Farm site after his waterproof jacket hood became caught.

According to the BBC, fiscal dispute Gail Adair told Dundee Sheriff Court that the conveyor belt and rollers should have been separated and switched off before cleaning.

The report continues that another hygiene operative found Cyrek unconscious under the conveyor, who alerted other workers.

"They ran to the central cabin and switched off the line. They freed him by manually feeding the roller to free his clothing,”​ Adair told the court.

Cyrek has worked as a hygiene operative for Kettle Produce since 21 August 2017. Following the incident, he was rushed to hospital as a result of his injuries and, consequently, was unable to work for six months.

Following a guilty plea, the company will now face a fine. 

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service informed Food Manufacture that the charge was in relation to HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK ACT 1974 S2(1)&33(1)(A​) ​and that the sentence will be deferred until 24 November 2023 at 9:30am for the Sheriff to consider the company accounts and detailed submissions. 

'We're strengthening our safety management approach'

Commenting in response, Liz Waugh, Director Kettle Produce Limited, told Food Manufacture:

“Kettle Produce is a large employer with more than 1,000 staff. Due to the nature of our business, there are several potentially hazardous environments involving machinery, etc and we are committed to following a highly developed and robust health and safety management system.

“We have two dedicated, full-time health and safety professionals who are supported by the head of operations, with a substantial budget for health and safety and maintenance. 

“Unfortunately, despite the state-of-the-art facilities and health and safety system, in June 2018 there was an incident involving one of our hygiene operatives.

“Following the incident, we cooperated fully with the investigation and subsequently submitted a guilty plea and looked to further strengthen our safety management approach.

“Given the size and scale of our business, we have a very good health and safety record, with no prior convictions and no incidents since June 2018.

“Lessons have been learned and we have taken remedial action including additional training for staff and an enhanced system for isolation. A new system is in place where all staff are assessed to demonstrate competence in any given task. We remain committed to ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of all our staff, contractors, and visitors.”

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