A decision in a case in which a man received second and third degree burns when he slipped into a vat containing 82-degree water was adjourned in the Launceston Magistrates court on Monday.
JBS Swift Australia Pty Ltd at Longford has pleaded guilty to failure to comply with health and safety duty Category 2 and duty to consult workers.
A Category 2 offence is defined by the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 as a failure to comply with a health and safety duty that exposes a person to risk of death, serious injury or illness.
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However, the company has pleaded not guilty to reckless conduct Category 1, which is the most serious breach, because it refers to a duty holder recklessly exposing a person to risk of death or serious injury.
Whether the company was reckless in providing a safe workplace for its employees is the key issue.
Defence lawyer Steven Russell told the court last year it was not a case of being negligent or careless, rather recklessness needed to be a deliberate action.
He said JBS pleaded not guilty because its actions did not amount to the charge of recklessness
Magistrate Simon Brown told parties to the case that in considering his decision he had become aware that a submission by Mr Russell last year was of little or no relevance.
Mr Brown gave Mr Russell 14 days to review the evidence from last year's hearing involving nine witnesses and make a further submission.
He gave prosecutors a further 14 days to respond and adjourned the case for decision in June 3, 2020 at 9.45am.
The court heard last year that in November 2016 a Longford abattoir employee was using a tripe cooker and associated plant to pre-wash, load and cook tripe.
The process required the employee to put pieces of tripe in a pre-wash basket that was raised to tip tripe into the cooker.
Pieces of tripe would become stuck in the pre-wash basket's holes after the process changed from using bleach to hot water, making it necessary for employees to climb on to the edge of the basket and push the tripe into the cooker manually.
The abattoir worker slipped while trying to push the tripe into the cooker and landed in the tub filled with 82-degree water.
He received second and third degree burns to both legs from the knees down, including both his feet.
Court documents allege the company was reckless without reasonable excuse because it knew there was a problem with the tripe work system about six months before the incident.
"There was no risk assessment of a change in process from the use of bleach to wash the tripe to hot water; and knowing that there was a problem with the tripe sticking in the basket during the process of it transferring ... [and] did nothing to address the issue," court documents read.
The offences the company pleaded guilty to carry a maximum total of fines valued at $1.6 million.