Food factory worker, 37, was strangled unconscious on a carrot baton machine when his hood jacket got tangled in the roller
- Remigiusz Cyrek was injured after being dragged into the machine and trapped
A food factory worker was strangled unconscious on a carrot baton machine when his hood jacket got tangled in the roller.
Remigiusz Cyrek, 37, was injured after being dragged into the machine and trapped by a giant roller while he was carrying out a deep clean on the specialist machinery.
The Fife-based vegetable producer faces a substantial fine after it admitted responsibility for the accident which left Mr Cyrek unable to work for six months.
Kettle Produce – which has a £150million turnover – admitted failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of staff at its Orkie Farm production centre near freuchie between 21 August 2017 and 22 June 2018.
Fiscal depute Gail Adair told Dundee Sheriff Court that the conveyor belt and rollers should have been isolated and completely switched off before the weekly clean.
Kettle Produce – which has a £150million turnover – admitted failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of staff at its Orkie Farm (pictured) production centre near freuchie between August 21, 2017, and June 22, 2018
She said: ‘Mr Cyrek is a Polish national who has been living in the UK since 2011. He has been employed as a hygiene operative with the company since 21 August 2017.
‘He was undertaking the weekly clean of the carrot baton line. He began pressure washing the line. It was running at the time and the driven roller was turning.
‘This was a rotating power roller. The hood of his waterproof jacket got caught in the roller, causing it to tighten round his neck and lead to a loss of consciousness.
‘The other hygiene operative found him unconscious under the conveyor, with the hood of his jacket tangled in the roller. Others became aware of that operative screaming at them.
‘They ran to the central cabin and switched off the line. They freed him by manually feeding the roller to free his clothing.’
The prosecutor told the court that Mr Cyrek was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital with severe swelling and bruising to his neck. He suffered a loss of feeling in his fingertips.
‘He was off work for six months and then returned to light duties. He continued to have pain in his hand. The accused had failed to have a safe system of work.’
Counsel for the company, Barry Smith, said: ‘All of those at Kettle Produce very sincerely regret this accident occurred, and caused injury to Mr Cyrek, who was a valued employee.’
Fiscal depute Gail Adair told Dundee Sheriff Court (pictured) that the conveyor belt and rollers should have been isolated and completely switched off before the weekly clean
He said the company, which was founded in 1976 and has 1,100 staff, was a market leader in the prepared vegetable sector and was a ‘large company’ in terms of turnover.
‘It is accepted there was a failure to ensure a safe system of work was properly implemented. There was a system, and had it been followed properly, it would have ensured safety.
‘Clear instruction was not universally understood and followed. It is accepted the company fell short of the required standard.’
He urged the court to take Covid-affected losses of over £4 million over the last two financial years into account when deciding the scale of the fine to impose.
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown deferred sentence for consideration of the level of fine to impose and said: ‘I think the injured person in this case has been very fortunate.’
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