Food processing company fined $80,000 over “horrific” incident

Food processing company fined $80,000 over “horrific” incident

Yarra Valley Snack Foods Pty Ltd has appeared in the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court to answer charges of failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work, to which they pleaded guilty.

The charges relate to an incident in February of 2019. A worker was using a corn milling machine, weighing in at 500 kilos, when it tipped and fell onto the worker, trapping him. At the time, the machine was being moved for cleaning, and its roller doors became stuck in a floor grate.

The worker sustained broken ribs, leg and ankle, as well as punctured lungs, deep lacerations and a fracture in his lower back. He has not been able to return to work.

The subsequent enquiry by WorkSafe found the company had failed to reduce or eliminate a risk of injury by securing the machinery. There was also no standard operating procedures in place for cleaning, or installing a work platform adjacent to the machine for the cleaning process.

Julie Nielsen, WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety, explained that adequate control measures could have prevented the life-changing injuries sustained by the worker.

“This horrific incident is a reminder of what can happen when employers fail to make workers’ safety their number one priority,” Ms Nielsen said.

“Employers must ensure they assess all the risks in their workplace and do everything they can to protect their workers, or WorkSafe will not hesitate to take enforcement action.”

The company was fined $80,000, and a conviction was recorded.

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