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Dairy company fined over cheese shredding accident

The Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company has been fined $35,000 following an incident at the companies Allansford facility where a worker had his finger severed in a cheese shredding machine.

According to a statement on the Work Safe News website, the worker was in the process of cleaning out the cheese shredding machine when he fell forward and connected with the operating button.

The man’s hand became trapped, resulting in several injuries including the loss of his index finger.

The chute where the worker placed his hand was not fitted with an interlock switch. An interlock switch should have been fitted to prevent the machine from operating during cleaning.

It was also reported that Warrnambool failed to conduct an adequate hazard identification risk assessment of the machine.

Adam Rogers, Worksafe’s region director emphasised that employers need to understand potential risks of every machine in the workplace.

Assessing the risks associated with dangerous machines, and then dealing with those risks, is a fundamental requirement of employers.” he said.

“Thousands of Victorians are injured every year because of dangerous machines. Too often, the risks are known but not acted on.

“Whether it’s trying to remove a simple blockage or performing scheduled maintenance, people maintaining, repairing, servicing or cleaning machinery have a high risk of being maimed through inadvertent operation of machinery they are working on.

”If risks aren’t managed, and a worker is injured, the company involved will face serious charges. Worse still, it means an employee could be facing a lifetime of pain and suffering.”

 

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