Brooklyn meat company fined $90k after worker’s hand amputated

By Goya Dmytryshchak

A Brooklyn meat processing company has been convicted and fined $90,000 after a worker’s hand was amputated.

JBS Australia pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to failing, so far as is reasonably practicable, to provide a safe working environment that was without risk to health.

The court heard the injured man had been working on a production line to remove hides from sheep carcasses that had been missed by a machine known as the primary hide puller.

The court heard that after primary hide puller missed several carcasses, there were hectic scenes as workers attached chains or straps to a back-up hide puller, while leaving the machine running.

A chain that the injured worker had wrapped around his wrist got caught in the back-up hide puller.

He was dragged into the machinery and his left wrist and hand were amputated.

According to the man, workers had been following common practice when the production line was busy.

JBS Australia has since decommissioned the back-up hide puller and bought new machinery.

WorkSafe health and safety executive director Julie Nielsen said there was no excuse for allowing workers to take unnecessary risks by using unsafe machinery or not powering down machinery when necessary.

“This worker suffered an horrific, life-changing injury while operating hazardous machinery because a safe system of work was not in place,” she said. “Employers must ensure the safety of their workers is always their first priority.”