WorkSafe reports Tatura Fresh Pty Ltd was convicted and sentenced to pay a $30,000 fine on Monday after a worker’s arm was caught in an unguarded winding mechanism while operating a powered leaf mat washer.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to provide or maintain a working environment that was safe and without risks to health in the Shepparton Magistrates’ Court. The hydroponic tomato farm was also ordered to pay $3623 in costs.

The court heard the washer was an overseas import, and Tatura Fresh had failed to ensure it met Australian standards. The company also failed to ensure that guarding was present around dangerous and powered areas.

The machine’s emergency stop control was not operational, and there was no safety switch on the device. The worker suffered nerve damage and serious crush injuries.

Tatura Fresh had failed to ensure there was a documented system of work for operation of the machine.

This incident emphasises the importance of ensuring that machinery is serviced and inspected regularly and meets Australian standards. It also highlights the need for documented systems of work.

Employers must make sure all safety guards and gates are compliant. They are also required to ensure staff have adequate training in safe operation of all machinery and equipment. Staff must also be provided with written work procedures in their first language. For more information, visit the WorkSafe website.