A Red Hills food processing company was fined $40,000 for a breach of workplace safety laws which resulted in a worker receiving a serious finger injury.
Magistrate Sharon Cure handed down the sentence in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Friday after the company pleaded guilty last year to a count of fail to comply with a health and safety duty category 2.
Forager Foods Pty Ltd process and freeze-dries plant and vegetable products at its Montana Road facilities.
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Ms Cure said the incident on October 15, 2018, had seriously impacted the life of employee Kellie May Reeman.
"The victim impact statement shows she has suffered losses to the enjoyment of her life," Ms Cure said.
The incident occurred when Ms Reeman was feeding frozen bananas into a vegetable cutter.
The worker who had only been at the company a few weeks placed her hand inside the vegetable slicer chute to clear a blockage when her finger was cut by a blade.
She suffered a serious injury to her middle finger, namely a serious laceration and dislocation of the finger.
"The injury required surgery and she was left with residual injuries and she has developed anxiety and depression," Ms Cure said.
A guard rail at the chute to the slicer was inadequate.
"The prosecution has urged me to find that the injuries were significant and that steps taken since were not onerous or burdensome," she said.
Ms Cure said that the foreseeability of the injury was a key factor.
She said that Ms Cure said that the company had co-operated with the investigation and offered support to the injured worker.
"The company takes its responsibilities seriously and this is not a significant failure overall," she said.
"I have come to the view that the appropriate penalty is a conviction on the charge and a fine of $40,000."
In February, Forager Foods pleaded not guilty to a separate workplace safety charge albeit of the same category failing to comply with health and safety duty category 2.
In this case, the Crown alleges that worker Kelly Reed Wilson suffered injuries to his fingers when his hand came into contact with an apple peeler and coring machine mechanism in 2018.
The Crown alleges that the worker's hand came into contact with one of the coring mechanisms that rotated around the worker's hand which then became entangled.
It resulted in severed nerves on his ring finger and little finger damaged ligament to his little finger, fracture to his ring finger and a fracture to the knuckle of his small finger, the Crown alleges.
The case will be heard by Magistrate Ken Stanton on March 22.
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