VIC: abattoir fined $35,000 after worker’s fall

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Wednesday, 9 February, 2022 - 12:15
Incidents & prosecutions

A mutton abattoir in Victoria has been convicted and fined $35,000 after an employee fell from a raised platform and hit his head in 2019.

Ararat Abattoirs Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Ararat Magistrates’ Court to one charge of failing to provide and maintain safe systems of work, so far as was reasonably practicable, and the company was also ordered to pay costs of $2930.

The court heard that workers would stand on a 1.5-metre-high platform to load refrigerated shipping containers with boxes of mutton.

On 2 November 2019, a worker was performing this task when he fell from the platform, hitting his head on the ground. He was taken to hospital and discharged two days later.

A WorkSafe Victoria investigation revealed that employees were at risk because the task of loading the shipping container was being performed on a raised platform, in proximity to an unprotected edge, with no fall protection in place.

All workplaces must ensure they are doing everything reasonably possible to prevent the risk of falls from heights, said WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety Narelle Beer.

“Already this year there has been one death due to workplace falls. That comes after eight deaths and 1,307 injury claims for falls from heights last year,” Beer said.

“Thankfully, nobody was killed in this case, but it serves as a warning to all employers to ensure they take proper measures to reduce or eliminate such risks.”