Six-figure fine for McCain following safety failings

Frozen potato foods manufacturer McCain has been fined £800,000 after an employee nearly lost his arm in a conveyor at its Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire plant.

Image: Dan Germain
Image: Dan Germain

Peterborough Crown Court heard how on 21 August 2014 a 34-year-old employee was attempting to check the condition of the head roller on a bypass conveyor, when his arm became entangled in the machinery and was almost severed. He was taken to hospital by air ambulance, and although his arm was saved, he now has limited movement in his hand.

The factory, which employs around 400 people, was closed for nearly a week following the accident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the conveyor did not have the correct guards fitted, and that a risk assessment by the company had failed to recognise the danger.

McCain Foods (GB) pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £800,000 with costs of £12,831.51.

McCain is the UK’s largest purchaser of British potatoes, buying around 15 per cent of the annual crop from around 300 growers. 

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