Hand caught in meat shredder, $75,000 fines

MEAT manufacturer D R & J Fabbris and its director were convicted and fined after a worker’s hand was caught in a meat shredder in 2008.

The Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court convicted and fined the director $25,000 for his failure to arrange for the shredder to be guarded. The company was fined $50,000 for two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

The incident occurred at the company’s Campbellfield factory. The worker had been trained and had experience working on a larger shredder, which had an interlocking guard. He was instructed to work on the smaller, unguarded shredder.

When the shredder became blocked with meat, the worker attempted to unblock it by pushing the meat with his hand, without switching the machine off. His hand was caught in the blades of the shredder and dragged into the shredding machinery.

As a result of the injury, the worker’s middle three fingers were removed to the knuckle; and he suffered damaged nerves, constant pain, and restricted movement of his thumb.

According to WorkSafe Victoria, company directors have to take responsibility for the health and safety of their workers. The director had been aware that the unguarded shredder was a hazard, but did not spend the $5000 needed to install a guard.