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Fruit company fined $25,000 for sliced finger incident

Date: 
Tuesday, 10 September, 2019 - 10:15
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Victoria

Shepparton company SPC Ardmona Operations has been fined $25,000 without conviction after a worker’s finger was partially severed by moving machinery.

The fruit processor pleaded guilty to one charge for failing to ensure guarding prevented access to a dangerous area of the plant, and the company was also ordered to pay $3592 in costs.

The court heard that a casual employee was cleaning an operating packing line when her finger was caught between the conveyor and a metal edge.

She was attempting to flick a stuck piece of fruit off the conveyor belt with her finger when the incident occurred.

Following the incident, SPC Ardmona immediately installed guarding to cover the gap between the conveyor and the edge.

Additional training was also provided to all employees.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said no worker should ever be exposed by an employer to the risk of injury when cleaning machinery.

“This worker has been left with permanent injuries that would have been avoided if appropriate guarding had been in place,” Nielsen said.

“The risks of exposing workers to moving machinery are well known and WorkSafe will not hesitate to take action against employers who fail to do all they can to eliminate or reduce these.”