McCain admits safety breaches

McCains Factory in Whittlesey
McCains Factory in Whittlesey

McCain Foods has admitted breaching health and safety regulations after a worker nearly lost an arm in an industrial accident at a factory.

The food giant entered guilty pleas to two counts at a hearing at Peterborough Crown Courton Monday.

The charges related to keeping staff safe and identifying risks near machinery.

Representatives from McCain Foods were in court for the short hearing, but were not required to sit in the dock to hear legal representations.

The incident happened at the factory in Whittlesey in August 2014, when work was taking place on a conveyer belt used to transport potatoes on the work line.

The male worker’s arm became trapped in the machinery, and he had to be rushed to hospital, where he needed treatment to save his limb.

The court was told that despite the two guilty pleas, representatives from the Health and Safety Executive and McCain Foods still need time to ‘resolve a number of issues’ before sentencing.

Details about the financial position of McCain will also be needed before the firm is sentenced.

A sentencing hearing will be held at the court on Thursday, April 28.

Judge Sean Enright gave no indication about possible sentences at Mondays plea and case management hearing at the crown court.

At a preliminary hearing, held in April, Peterborough Magistrates Court heard how one of the employees was doing checks of the conveyer belt when his arm got trapped in the machinery, causing significant injury.

The court heard he was very lucky not to lose his arm- he only avoided amputation as he was able to get to hospital quickly and get the vital treatment.

A spokeswoman for McCain Foods apologised to the worker, saying they expressed their ‘sincere regret’ over the incident.

The case was moved from the Magistrates’ Court to the Crown Court because a judge has a wider range of sentences - and can also hand out heavier penalties than magistrates.