Food company fined £360,000 after worker loses consciousness

A company in Fife which grows and prepares vegetables has been fined £360,000 after a worker was dragged into a machine and lost consciousness.

Remigiusz Cyrek, a hygiene operative at Kettle Produce Limited, was undertaking a routine clean of a machine that makes carrot batons on 22 June 2018. The 37-year-old was trapped by a giant roller after being dragged into the machine at the company’s premises at Orkie Farm, in Freuchie.

Mr Cyrek had been cleaning part of the conveying machinery which had not been isolated from the power supply. The hood of his waterproof jacket became entangled in a moving power driven roller, causing it to tighten around his neck and resulting in him losing consciousness. The incident left the Polish national unable to work for six months afterwards.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Kettle Produce Limited had failed to provide a safe system of work for employees who were cleaning the machinery.  A safe system of work should ensure that cleaning activities are not carried out whilst the machinery was moving, and that all parts were isolated and locked-off  from the power supply.

HSE guidance on working safely with machinery is available.

Kettle Produce Limited, of Balmalcolm Farm, Cupar, Fife, pleaded guilty to breach Section 2(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £360,000 at Dundee Sheriff Court on 23 November 2023.

HSE inspector Kerry Cringan said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“While cleaning is an essential part of food processing, hygiene operatives should not be exposed to risks from unguarded moving parts.

“Companies should be aware that we will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More information about the legislation referred to in this case is available.
  3. Further details on the latest HSE news releases is available.
  4. Guidance on working safely with machinery is available.