A Perth vegetable packing and export business has been fined $33,000 after a woman's thumb was crushed because of a lack of machinery guarding.
Wattleup-based North East Equity Pty Ltd, trading as Sumich's, pleaded guilty in the Fremantle Magistrates Court to failing to provide a safe workplace and, by that failure, causing serious injury to an employee.
The woman, a Sumich's employee of about 20 years, was working where carrots were graded and packed when the accident happened in May 2011.
The employee was draining water from a carrot hopper and holding the bin tipper frame with her right hand to steady herself while reaching up with her left hand to operate the water lever.
The court heard she had taken such a stance because the lever to drain the water and control panel for the tipper were too high for her to reach while standing on the ground.
The bin cradle lowered and crushed her right thumb against the bin tipper frame.
She needed surgery, including the insertion of an internal screw-plate and a bone graft from her forearm, and has been left with permanent loss of function and motion in her thumb.
She did not return to work until February 2013.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said the employer modified the bin tippers and hoppers after the accident, costing several thousand dollars.
The employer has also been ordered to pay almost $1200 in court costs.