Davies Bakery in Broadmeadows, Melbourne, has been fined in the Broadmeadows Magistrates Court over an incident in 2018 that saw a contracted worker lose a finger.
WorkCover prosecutor, Morgan Brown, read a victim impact statement to the court, describing the incident, and the man’s ‘mortification’ seeing his finger lying on the ground.
The worker said he was shocked when his colleagues wrapped his hand in paper towel, failed to call an ambulance or put his finger on ice.
“I felt I was abandoned,” the man said in his statement. “The manager was driving me to the hospital and was telling me to be a man.”
The worker said he suffered flashbacks to the day of the incident and had been since diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The defence lawyer for Davies Bakery explained that the incident was a freak accident that the company couldn’t have foreseen, and past risk assessments undertaken at the site had not revealed any hazards.
“It’s put quite firmly on behalf of the company that this was not a situation where the company was reckless,” Mr Russell, for Davies Bakery, told the court.
“The commercial reality is having a conviction for a matter such as this could create a situation where future business … may be put in jeopardy,” he told the court.
The prosecution’s lawyer argued that another employee had been injured at the site 12 months earlier, and it showed that safer work practices were required, including better guarding on machinery.
The company’s owner pleaded guilty on behalf of the company to one charge of failing to ensure a safe workplace. The offence carries a maximum fine of close to $400,000.
Magistrate Martin Grinberg said the company had an extensive history without workplace incidents, excluding the one incident prior. He fined the company $30,000 and $3,725 in costs, without a conviction.