Meat processing company fined $90K over amputation incident

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Photo: Activedia, Pixabay

A meat processing company has been convicted and fined $90,000 following an incident where a worker’s hand was severed at its plant in Brooklyn, Victoria.

The company pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for failing to provide a safe working environment that was without risk to health.

The victim was working on a production line to removes hides from sheep carcasses that had been missed by a primary hide puller. A chain that the worker wrapped around his wrist became entangled with the back-up hide puller, dragging him in and amputating his left wrist and hand.

According to an investigation, the machine had missed a number of carcasses just before the incident and there were hectic scenes as workers quickly attached chains or straps to the backup hide puller, while the machine was running.

Following the incident, the company decommissioned the machine and invested in a new one.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said there was no excuse for allowing workers to take unnecessary risks by using unsafe machinery or not powering down machinery when needed.

“This worker suffered an horrific, life-changing injury while operating hazardous machinery because a safe system of work was not in place,” she said.

“Employers must ensure the safety of their workers is always their first priority.”

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