Terang egg farm fined after worker loses tip of finger

A TERANG egg farming family business has been fined $17,500 with more than $3000 costs after a worker slipped, fell into machinery and lost the tip of her left index finger.

In a WorkSafe prosecution at the Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday, the Milroy’s trust company MBA Nominees Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to a workplace breach which led to the injury.

Magistrate John Lesser said there was no doubt the Milroy family regretted the unusual circumstances which led to the serious injury.

He said the Milroys had taken responsibility, pleaded guilty, had no prior convictions despite their long-running operation and had put in place safe working systems since the accident.

The court heard the Milroys ran an egg producing and distribution business which was established in 1954 by Bernie Milroy and involved his sons Glenn and John.

On July 18 last year a worker lost the tip of her left index finger in egg conveyer machinery.

Seven people were working on nine lines at the time.

On July 15 repairs had to be undertaken on one of the lines. Glenn Milroy, who usually did such repairs, was away on holidays and a technician was called in.

The technician removed a guard and chains and cogs were left exposed when the technician failed to replace the guard.

After morning tea on July 18, the worker investigated a problem with the line and slipped. Her finger became entangled in machinery, the emergency button was hit to stop the line and the worker was taken to hospital. A WorkSafe inspector checked out the egg production operation after the accident and found each guard failed to comply with regulations. Since then remedial work has been undertaken by the Milroys to rectify the situation

A solicitor for the Milroys said the injury was suffered after an unfortunate series of events but there had since been substantial changes to ensure a  safe system of work.

The Milroys employ five full-time and 10 part-time workers.

The solicitor said the Milroys are also in the process of selling the business with Glenn Milroy retiring.

A WorkSafe solicitor submitted a table of similar cases with fines ranging between $15,000 and $50,000. Mr Lesser decided not to record a conviction because of the Milroys’ blemish-free record.

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