JBS Australia Pty Ltd has been found guilty after a worker was seriously injured in 2020 when two 700kg hay bales fell on her. The company claimed the worker was at fault for violating a buddy system's work practice, but the court rejected this argument.
The incident occurred at JBS's feedlot in Caroona, NSW, where an unstable stack of hay bales trapped the worker. The judge in NSW ruled that JBS did not have documented safe work procedures for the task and should have taken reasonable steps to ensure worker safety.
The company argued that the injured worker knowingly made an unsafe decision based on her training. However, the court found that the worker had not received proper training and was unaware of the risks at the time of the incident.
The judge also noted that a general practice for unloading, testing, and stacking hay had developed at the feedlot and was passed on to new workers through a buddy system. JBS claimed this system was sufficient training, but the judge disagreed.
The case will now proceed to sentencing.
JBS is the biggest meat company in the world but has found itself the subject of multiple corruption scandals.