$50,000 after finger severed in dumpling machine

A dumpling maker has been convicted and fined $45,000 after a worker's fingertip was amputated by a part of a dumpling machine at a Dandenong South factory.


My Crazy Auntie's Food Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Dandenong Magistrates' Court last week after being found guilty of four charges of failing to maintain safe plant, one charge of failing to provide a safe system of work, and one charge of failing to provide necessary information, instruction and training.

The company was also ordered to pay $5,372 in costs.

In November 2021, a worker's index finger was partially amputated when his fingertip was pulled into a moving drive chain through an opening underneath a guard, which he was pushing back into place after routine maintenance.

The court heard it was reasonably practicable for the company to reduce the risks by installing guarding over the drive chain that did not have an open section underneath, instructing workers to power down the machine prior to maintenance, and providing a safe operating procedure for doing so.

On inspection, WorkSafe found entanglement risks in two other parts of the dumpling machinery and issued compliance notices that required the installation of guarding to prevent bodily access to the dough rollers and rotating paddles on the meat hopper.

WorkSafe's investigation found there was also a risk to pedestrians from mobile plant in the factory’s loading zone due to the company's failure to develop and implement a traffic management plan that included designated walkways, barriers and signs.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said any employer failing to ensure the safety of their machinery was putting their workers at serious risk of harm.

"There is no excuse for employers not taking every reasonable step to ensure machinery is operating safely," Dr Beer said.

"That includes making sure appropriate guarding is in place to protect workers, and that they know how to stay safe while operating and maintaining machinery."

Tips for cleaning plant and equipment safely:

  • Undertake a risk assessment to identify any hazards and assess how to remove or control them.
  • Have a documented procedure in place, including on how to power down and isolate equipment.
  • Ensure machines are powered down, fully secured and stable before cleaning begins.
  • Ensure machinery is properly guarded and safety interlocks are regularly checked.
  • Ensure workers are properly trained and supervised so they understand the procedure and the risks associated with the plant and equipment being cleaned.