A NSW company has been fined $300,000 after a worker’s hand was amputated on just her second shift at a Sydney warehouse.
Mintra Sudto arrived for her second casual shift at the Milperra premises of paper manufacturing company Royal Touch Paper Products Pty Ltd, where her husband also worked, on the morning of March 13, 2021.
Sudto was tasked with using a core cutting machine to create cylinder cardboard cores and was told by an experienced operator “the machine is set up … all you have to do is just cut”.
A few hours into the shift, Sudto’s arms became entangled in the rotating blades of the machine.
“The blades cut through Ms Sudto’s left hand up to her forearm and through her right hand,” the facts of the case state, as published in a judgement handed down last week.
Sudto was working alone at the time and tried to push the emergency stop button but could not reach it.
She called out for help for 10 minutes before workers on the other side of the building heard her and rushed to help.
Sudto’s arms were removed from the machine and she lost consciousness.
She sustained significant injuries to both arms and was rushed to hospital where one arm was partially amputated.
Sudto spent three days in intensive care and 10 days in hospital.
A SafeWork investigation found Sudto, who was a trained chef, had no previous experience operating a machine.
She had only been shown how to use the machine for about five minutes, the week before the incident.
Royal Touch Paper Products admitted there was no supervisor on-site at the time and that “it did not provide adequate information, instruction and training to workers such as Ms Sudto to enable them to perform tasks competently”.
Following the incident, the company was prohibited from operating the core cutting machine and was charged by SafeWork NSW for failing in its work health and safety duty.
The company pleaded guilty to the charge and was last week fined $300,000 for the offence in the District Court of NSW.