Two seriously hurt in meatworks' incident

ONE man is fighting for life and another is in a serious condition after suffering burns at Warrnambool’s Midfield meatworks on Sunday afternoon.

WorkSafe inspectors have shut down the plant pending an investigation into the accident.

According to a WorkSafe spokeswoman, the men suffered an electric shock after inspecting a power cabinet at the abattoir.

Both  were flown to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne. 

WorkSafe inspectors visited the site on Sunday night and are continuing investigations.

Midfield Group operations manager Andrew Westlake gave a brief statement via email. 

“An incident occurred during a planned maintenance shutdown at the Midfield site in McMeekin Road,” he wrote. 

“Two workers, one an outside contractor and one a Midfield employee, suffered serious burns as a result of an electrical fault. Co-workers rendered immediate first aid and ambulances transported the workers to Warrnambool Base Hospital.

“WorkSafe staff and officers from the electrical regulators are conducting investigations to identify the cause of the incident. No definitive cause has been confirmed at this time,” he said.

An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said an ambulance was called to the abattoir at 4.45pm on Sunday.

“One man suffered extensive burns and CPR was performed at the scene,” she said. “The other man in his 40s received facial burns and other burns. Both men went to the Warrnambool Base Hospital and were then flown to The Alfred hospital. 

“The man with the extensive burns was listed as being in a critical condition and the other man was in a serious condition,” she said.

“Our support, thoughts and care go out to the injured workers, their families, colleagues and friends.

“The plant has been closed (yesterday while we investigate the cause and source parts to repair the fault.”

He said he expected the planet to re-open today.

Detective Senior Constable Gary Greene of Warrnambool police’s criminal investigation unit said the men were “working in a switch room that contained a high-voltage switch”. 

Detective Senior Constable Greene said police were assisting WorkSafe and Energy Safe with their investigation.

Police were called to the site on Sunday afternoon and are believed to have maintained a presence throughout the night. An SES  crew also attended the scene.

One man remains in a critical but stable condition and the other is listed as stable, according to a spokeswoman from The Alfred hospital.

It is understood the critically injured man has been placed in an induced coma.

 

By ANDREW THOMSON
May 14, 2013