Fruit packing company’s fine for a 2015 scalping incident increased

A Shepparton fruit packing company has been convicted and fined $ 150,000 on appeal for a scalping incident in 2015.

A backpacker employee was cleaning the underside of a conveyor belt in November 2015 when her hair was caught in a drive shaft.

The machine was unguarded and workers were expected to clean the conveyor belt while it was operating.

The company was charged with failing to provide and maintain a safe plant, and one charge of failing to maintain a safe system of work, and was fined $ 50,000 without conviction plus $ 22,000 in costs in the Shepparton Magistrates Court last year.

On Thursday, the fine was increased and a conviction imposed, following an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“The dangers of having workers reaching into moving machinery should be obvious to any employer, and the idea that this practice would even still go on in Victorian workplaces is shocking and completely unacceptable,” said WorkSafe Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety, Paul Fowler.

“The dangers of having workers reaching into moving machinery should be obvious to any employer, and the idea that this practice would even still go on in Victorian workplaces is shocking and completely unacceptable.

“The time or cost saved by not powering down is never worth the horrific injuries that could occur, and did in fact occur on this occasion.”

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