Abattoir fined for crush injury
Cedar Meats, the Victorian abattoir which saw a major coronavirus outbreak last year, was this week fined $15,000 in the Melbourne Magistrates Court over an incident in which one of their employees crushed her arm during a shift.
The 62-year-old worker was wiping down a conveyor belt in the Brooklyn meatworks at the start of her shift on January 30, 2019, when the paper towel she was holding got caught in the moving belt, dragging her arm into the belt. Her arm was fractured in multiple places and she also sustained injuries to her leg, which required plastic surgery.
She has not worked since, and told the court in her victim impact statement that she loved going to work, but the permanent injuries meant she could not return and she was struggling to complete re-training because she was still in pain. She was employed by Labour Solutions Australia, which provides workers to Cedar Meats, and said that because she was not a permanent Australian resident, she was even more worried about her financial security when her compensation payments ended.
The WorkSafe prosecutor told the court although there was a guard on the belt, it was not adequate. Cedar Meats installed mesh barriers the same day they were asked to and, soon after, also installed emergency stop buttons.
Magistrate Gregory McNamara said the worker’s injuries were serious and impacted her socially, mentally and physically. In issuing a $15,000 fine without conviction, the magistrate considered the company’s lack of prior history, guilty plea and the steps it took to remedy the failings. Source: The Age
To check for more Victorian prosecutions before the next edition, go to WorkSafe Victoria's Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings webpage.