Pinnacle Bakery & Integrated Ingredients Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for failing to provide and maintain safe plant and failing to provide appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision.
The company, which was fined without conviction, was also ordered to pay costs of $3974.
On 2 December 2015, the worker was operating a machine used to fill pastries with custard. The machine places a set amount of custard into pastry cases and then turns and closes as the custard is pushed forward through a tube and into the pastry product.
The court heard that one of the worker’s tasks was to manually refill the machine because the filler pump was broken. The court was told that the company was aware the machine had been malfunctioning all day and decided to keep it in operation.
After noticing that the custard was not dispensing equally into the pastry casings, the worker reached into the machine to clear a blockage. His hand became stuck and the tips of three of his fingers were amputated.
The court heard that both his supervisor and line manager had left the factory before the incident.
The worker told WorkSafe investigators that he had not been trained if a malfunction occurred.
“I stood on a small step and reached into the depositor with my right hand which I had seen other people do to mix up the custard,” the worker said.
“I had not been trained (if there was a malfunction) and there was no-one to ask. When my right hand was inside the depositor I pushed the custard down. The next thing I felt something grab three of my fingers being my index finger, middle finger and ring finger.”
WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said a lack of proper training and lack of guarding on machinery was a potentially deadly combination.
“No worker should be operating machinery that they haven’t been trained appropriately to use,” Ms Williams said.
“The company should have provided the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision to the worker for the machinery. It should also have assessed the machine for risks and adequately guarded it at areas that allowed access to moving danger points.
“This company placed its workers directly in harm’s way by leaving them alone with machinery that they hadn’t been properly trained to use.”