A young visa worker has been hospitalised after their arm was trapped in a machine on the slaughter floor at Booyong Pork, operated by the Northern Co-operative Meat Company.
The AMIEU understands that the accident occurred because the guards on the machine had been removed in order to fix an ongoing issue.
All employers are required by law to maintain a safe working environment for their workers. NCMC has failed in its primary duty of care under Section 19 of the Work Health & Safety Act and the AMIEU considers this to be a failure of their obligations to the law and to their workers.
This is an unacceptable breach and the AMIEU will be conducting a full investigation into how NCMC management allowed this to occur. The AMIEU will welcome any information that the company may provide.
This injury could have been much worse if it were not for quick-thinking fellow workers who were able to assist.
Only an hour after the accident occurred, AMIEU officials were on-site to investigate. The AMIEU worked with a SafeWork representative who arrived later to examine the problem and hold discussions with the workforce.
It is clear that the SafeWork regulator has been underfunded and under-resourced for many years and it is only a matter of time until another worker pays the ultimate price for the failure of successive governments to prioritise worker safety.
This incident once again demonstrates the necessity of ensuring that workforces have adequate numbers of qualified, union-trained Health & Safety Representatives who are elected and supported by their colleagues.
Union-trained Health & Safety Representatives have powers under the law to force employers to fix safety issues and to order a general stoppage if an area is unsafe. AMIEU-trained HSRs have been crucial to saving lives and keeping workers safe all across Newcastle & Northern NSW.
The AMIEU can assist any members who have been elected as an HSR and are seeking qualified training.