VIC: commercial bakery operator fined $30,000 over amputation

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of members. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Friday, 4 December, 2020 - 12:00
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Victoria

A commercial bakery operator in Broadmeadows was recently fined $30,000 following an incident in which a worker’s finger was amputated by conveyer belt machinery.

A worker commenced working for the offender as a labour-hire employee of Chandler Personnel Pty Ltd, and the worker was inducted to work for the offender by Chandler.

Upon commencement of work at the offender’s workplace, the worker was not inducted at the workplace or given any training or information on the machines used to manufacture pastry products.

The worker worked in the pastry section for approximately one year and then was directed by Chandler to work in the bread packing area the day prior to the incident.

On 27 June 2018, the first day of work in the bread packing area, the worker was removing bread from the infeed conveyor to the slicer.

As he was picking up the bread, the middle finger on his right hand went through the conveyor belt and was amputated when it came into contact with the in running nip point on the operating contact with the in running nip point on the operating conveyor belt.

Removing bread from the conveyor belt was a common practice and was done on a daily basis to prevent bread building up when the slicer stopped working.

Following the incident, two improvement notices were issued and, in order to comply with the notices, the offender arranged for the replacement of the conveyor belt with finger-safe conveyor belts within nine days of the incident.

The offender pleaded guilty to one charge and was without conviction, sentenced to pay a fine of $30,000 and ordered to pay VWA’s costs in the sum of $3725.