Food manufacturer fined $20,000 over silo incident

A food manufacturer has been convicted and fined $20,000 following an incident where a worker was taken to hospital after being trapped by grain that surged from a silo at a Kensington worksite in June 2021.


Allied Pinnacle Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court last week after pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to provide or maintain systems of work that were, so far as was reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.

The company was also ordered to pay costs of $4,151.

The court heard that on the day of the incident a silo capable of storing 10 tonnes of grain screenings was blocked.

Following several unsuccessful attempts to unblock the silo, the worker entered a multi-level shed that provided access to the silo.

While the worker attempted to clear the blockage, product surged into the shed, trapping him. It was later estimated that two tonnes of grain screenings had exited the silo.

Emergency services extracted the worker, who was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

It was discovered that at the time of the incident Allied Pinnacle had no safe operating procedure to prevent the entrapment or suffocation of workers attempting to dislodge silo blockages.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said there was no excuse for companies that failed to have safe systems of work in place.

"It shouldn't take an incident like this for an employer to develop and implement procedures that can save someone's life," Dr Beer said.

"Employers must make every reasonable effort to eliminate or reduce any risks to health and safety at their workplaces and WorkSafe will continue to prosecute companies who fail to do so."

To manage risks when working with grain silos, duty holders should:

  • Undertake a risk assessment to identify any hazards and assess how to remove or control them.
  • Develop and implement safe operating procedures (including for the loading/unloading of grain) in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives. 
  • Provide the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision to employees to enable them to perform their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health and safety.
  • Put signs on or in the vicinity of silos warning of any risks.