Food company fined $80,000 after worker crushed and injured

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of members. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institue of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Friday, 25 September, 2020 - 12:45
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Victoria

A snack food manufacturer in Lilydale Victoria has been convicted and fined $80,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries when he was pinned under a corn milling machine in February 2019.

Yarra Valley Snack Foods Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work.

The court heard the machine, which weighs about 500 kilograms, tipped and fell on the worker when its roller wheels became jammed in a floor grate as it was being moved for cleaning.

The 26-year-old worker suffered a punctured lung, fractured ribs, fractured leg and ankle, fractured lower back and deep lacerations. He has not returned to work.

WorkSafe Victoria inspectors found the company had failed to reduce or eliminate the risk of injury by bolting the machine to the ground, implementing a standard operating procedure for cleaning, or installing a work platform next to the machine for cleaning.

The life-changing injuries the worker suffered could have been avoided if there had been adequate control measures in place, said WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety Julie Nielsen.

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