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Details of successful prosecution against E244243

Incident description

The defendant company operates an abattoir. It held duties under s.19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

On 29 June 2017 a 17-year-old worker was cutting the hoofs off large pigs using a single-handed hock cutter. The worker's free hand was inadvertently in the way, and his left index and middle fingers were trapped in the blades of the plant and amputated.

Court result

On 28 June 2019 the defendant pleaded guilty in the Maryborough Magistrates Court to breaching s.32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet its work health and safety duties and was sentenced.

Magistrate Barrett fined the defendant $90,000. The court ordered that no conviction be recorded.

In reaching a decision, the Magistrate considered the lack of training of the injured worker, he performed work beyond his skills and ability and his age commenting young people were more vulnerable to authority and in the workplace generally. Magistrate Barrett acknowledged the defendant company gave immediate support to the injured worker and his family and rectified the plant immediately after the incident. It also had been implementing injury prevention strategies for the last two years and could be classed as a good corporate citizen. It provides employment in a small town, contributes to community organisations and fundraising.

In deciding penalty, Magistrate Barrett took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach, co-operated with the investigation and entered an early plea of guilty.

At time of the sentence, but not at the time of the offence, the defendant company had been dealt with for a breach that occurred some four months prior to offence.

His Honour determined not to record a conviction. At the time of the offence, the defendant had no history of similar offending. His Honour said that whilst it is factual that the defendant was later dealt with for the earlier offence, that fact alone, without some nexus, does not override all other considerations on point.


Accommodation and food services
Date of offence:
Amputation of left index and middle fingers
Maryborough Magistrates Court
Magistrate Barrett
s.32 of the duty under s.19(1) Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Decision date:
$90,000 fine
Maximum Penalty:
Conviction recorded:
CIS event number: