Crush injury costs meat works $130,000

Crush injury costs meat works $130,000

A Melbourne meatworks has been fined $130,000 over a 2019 workplace incident, which saw a worker’s arm trapped in a waste chute.
Diamond Valley Pork Pty Ltd, previously the site of a COVID-19 outbreak, faced the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court for failing to adequately guard plant equipment.
It was heard in court that a worker was operating a casing machine, commonly used in the production of sausage and cured meat products, when a knife fell into a waste chute.
The worker reached in to retrieve the knife and had his hand and arm crushed in the pneumatic ram, which worked to push offal waste into the disposal area.

The worker was transported to hospital, where his hand was able to be reattached. The worker was unable to return to work due to complications in his recovery.

It was heard in court that Diamond Valley Pork was aware of, and had identified, the risk of the waste chute, and had subsequently installed a guard over the chute, but it was found to be inadequate and didn’t fully protect workers.

Within one day of the incident, a different guard was installed.

Julie Nielsen, WorkSafe Victoria’s Executive Director of Health and Safety, explained that the safety protections in place for plant equipment and machinery should not be left to the discretion of workers.

“It is up to employers to ensure the highest level of protection,” she said.
“This includes the fitting of appropriate guards or barriers so moving parts cannot be touched or accessed while the machine is operating.”

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