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Firm fined $40,000 following man's finger slice accident
02/11/2012 - A company has been ordered to pay more than $50,000 after an employee had two fingers chopped off in a vegetable slicer.
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Harvest Freshcuts was on Thursday found guilty in Perth Magistrates Court of failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace and, by that failure, causing the employee serious harm.
The company was fined $40,000 and ordered to pay $12,000 in costs.
The business produced ready-made salads for supply to supermarkets and contained several machines to cut and slice the produce, one of which was a belt slicer.
Vegetables were placed on the slicer's conveyer belt and fed into a cutting chamber with three rotating blades.
An employee was operating the machine in June 2009 and wanted to clear some vegetable matter from the chamber.
He hit the emergency stop button and put his hand into the chamber, not knowing that the emergency stop button and interlock were not functioning because of a fault in the electrical relay.
The blades were still spinning when he put his hand in and two of his fingers were amputated to the middle knuckle.
After the incident, the employer fitted the slicer with electrical relays that were less likely to fail, and if they did fail, would fail to a safe state and cut off power to the blades.
WorkSafe acting executive director Ian Munns said the case illustrated how important it was to have lock-out and tagging procedures at workplaces with machinery.
"It's never safe to leave any piece of machinery operational while doing repairs or performing maintenance, and this case illustrates that effective lockout and tagging procedures are vitally important in any workplace where machinery is used," he said.
"Subsequent to this incident, the employer made the changes needed to reduce the likelihood of another incident like this, but these measures could reasonably have been taken at an earlier stage."
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bert stahr | 2/11/2012 23:28 1
The worker did not pay any attention. The worker is at fault. The employer will cop it sweet until the time comes in this lucky country when everyone will sue the employer for everything and then there will be no employers. Your enemy, The State will be in control and until this happens the "worker" will go for everything he can get and all the while ignoring his stupidity. Australia is Communist, the tragety is that Australians don't know it. In Australia if you are an employer you are regarded by the government as a criminal. You have no rights. You cannot dismiss an employee FULL STOP without being sued for damages regardless if that employee refuses to work. Those of you who do not believe this should check out the Dingo Qld sawmill incident.
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