Ezyrol Trading Pty Ltd, which provided labour hire to a pet food processing plant in Camperdown, rural Victoria, has been hit with penalties of more than $16,000 after an employee severed his middle finger and crushed two other fingers in a meat mixer at the facility.
The worker was operating a mixer that processed 200kg containers of meat through a hopper at the top of the mixer. The finished product came out through the front of the mixer into a 200 litre bin.
The mixer was supposed to be fitted with a mesh safety guard that had a magnetic interlock sensor that connected to another interlock sensor on the main part of machine.
As the sensor on the guard was faulty, this had been removed, enabling the mixer to operate without it.
While operating the mixer, the employee noticed it had stopped working and appeared to be blocked. He then pressed the stop button, but didn’t notice that he hadn’t pressed it hard enough and the machine continued to operate.
In an attempt to clear the obstruction in the mixer, he put his hand in the outfeed. The blade in the machine severed his middle finger and crushed two other fingers on his right hand. After going to hospital, he was able to have surgery to have his finger reattached.
The employer pleaded guilty for its failure to conduct a risk assessment and failure to provide a safe system of work and was convicted and fined $12,500, plus costs of $3,505.