Tatura Fresh fined $30,000 after worker’s arm crushed

By Country News

A Tatura hydroponic tomato farm has been convicted and fined $30,000 after a worker's arm was crushed in unguarded machinery last year.

Tatura Fresh Pty Ltd was sentenced on Monday, September 14, after pleading guilty on August 28 to failing to provide or maintain a working environment that was safe and without risk to health.

Shepparton Magistrates’ Court heard a worker was operating a powered leaf mat washer when his arm was caught in an unguarded winding mechanism, causing serious crush injuries and nerve damage.

Tatura Fresh had imported the washer from overseas without ensuring it met Australian standards.

The court heard it failed to ensure there were safety guards around dangerous, powered areas and that there was a documented system of work for operating the machine.

There was also no safety switch, and the emergency stop control was not operational.

WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Julie Nielsen said there was no excuse for failing to protect workers from the risk of unguarded machinery to cause severe and permanent injuries.

“There is no room for complacency when it comes to dangerous, high-risk hazards such as moving machinery,” she said.

“A worker has received serious and possibly life-long injuries from an incident that could easily have been prevented with proper guarding and a safe system of work that all employees were trained in implementing.”

Tatura Fresh was also ordered to pay $3623 in costs.