As a Melbourne grocery worker screamed in pain with her hand stuck in a meat mincer, her manager told her to stop scaring customers.
A grocery worker who suffered horrific injuries after her hand was caught in a dodgy meat mincer says her manager told her to stop crying because she was scaring customers.
Vietnamese immigrant Huyen Duong, 28, lost four fingers and most of her thumb on her dominant right hand while working in the butcher’s section of Minh Hung Groceries in St Albans.
At Sunshine Magistrates’ Court last week, the shop’s owner Minh Hung Pty Ltd was convicted and fined $20,000 after pleading guilty to one charge each of failing to provide a safe workplace and training to employees.
In June 2020, Ms Duong was feeding beef into a meat mincer which didn’t have a guard at the request of a customer when her hand was dragged into the machine.
Ms Duong screamed in pain before a colleague rushed to her aid and pulled out the plug.
Her hand remained trapped inside the machine.
In a statement provided to WorkSafe, Ms Duong said her manager told her to stop crying because she was scaring customers and initially tried to free her from the mincer without calling emergency services.
“I think she was worried about the shop’s reputation,” Ms Duong wrote.
Colleagues tried to free her hand for 15 minutes before an ambulance was called with Ms Duong taken to hospital with part of the machine still attached.
Firefighters helped doctors remove the machinery during surgery but attempts to reattach her fingers and thumb were unsuccessful.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Ms Duong said her life changed forever as a result of the incident.
“When I first came to Australia I had a lot of dreams and I wanted to be a professional banker and I planned to work hard and also study English as good as local people,” she said.
“But the incident cost me everything, I feel I have nothing left.”
Ms Duong said she struggled to take care of her young son and the sight of blood made her “lose control”.
Michelle Cavalieri from Slater and Gordon, who is representing Ms Duong in a workers’ compensation claim, said her client should never have been injured in the first place.
“No worker should ever be put in a position where they are expected to use dangerous equipment without undergoing any training whatsoever in how to safely use it,” Ms Cavalieri said.
“Had she have received such training, there’s every chance that Ms Duong would still have use of her hand.”
In handing down her sentence, Magistrate Kay Robertson said the incident “clearly demonstrated” why workplace safety laws were necessary.
The company was convicted and fined $20,000 and ordered to pay legal costs.
Source: Herald Sun