Sliced finger incident at fruit processor

Monday, 12 August, 2019

Sliced finger incident at fruit processor

SPC Ardmona Operations Ltd has been fined $25,000 without conviction after a worker’s finger was partially severed by moving machinery, according to WorkSafe Victoria.

The fruit processor pleaded guilty to one charge for failing to ensure guarding prevented access to a dangerous area of the plant.

The court heard that a casual employee was cleaning an operating packing line when her finger was caught between the conveyor and a metal edge.

She was attempting to flick a stuck piece of fruit off the conveyor belt with her finger when the incident occurred.

Following the incident, SPC Ardmona immediately installed guarding to cover the gap between the conveyor and the edge. Additional training was also provided to all employees.

The WorkSafe Victoria report said to clean equipment safely employers should ensure:

  • machines are powered down and fully secured before cleaning begins,
  • workers are properly trained and supervised so they understand the risks associated with equipment being cleaned,
  • machinery is properly guarded and safety interlocks are regularly checked,
  • warning lights and sounds are working.

Where practicable, ensure any conveyor system has a lanyard-type emergency stop system that will enable a person anywhere along a conveyor to gain immediate access to the emergency stop.

If a lanyard-type emergency stop cannot be installed, ensure interlocked guarding is installed along the length of the conveyor.

Image credit: ©

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