VIC: grocer fined after unsafe meat mincer injures worker

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.
Thursday, 13 October, 2022 - 12:00
Incidents & prosecutions

The operator of an Asian grocery store in Victoria has been convicted and fined $20,000 after a worker’s hand was caught in a meat mincer at St Albans.

Minh Hung was sentenced in the Sunshine Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to provide or maintain a safe plant and a single charge of failing to provide the necessary information, instruction and training.

The company was also ordered to pay $3756 in costs.

In June 2020, the worker was feeding meat into a mincer when her hand was dragged into the machine and crushed.

Despite the efforts of emergency services and subsequent surgery, the worker lost three fingers and part of a thumb as a result of the incident.

The court heard the mincer did not have a guard above the feed chute to prevent access to the dangerous area and the worker wasn’t provided with a plunger or other implement.

Simple safety measures could have prevented a life-changing injury to the worker, said WorkSafe Victoria director of health and safety, Narelle Beer.

“It’s just not fair that this injured worker and the colleagues who witnessed this awful incident now have to deal with the traumatic consequences of this company’s failure,” Beer said.

“There is absolutely no excuse for employers who fail to ensure dangerous machinery is adequately guarded and their workers are properly trained in how to operate it safely.”