Takeaway fined $75,000 after hair caught in rotisserie

In a recent case heard by the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court, Souvlaki GR Plenty Pty Ltd was found liable and sentenced ex-parte. The company faced charges for failing to implement WHS management systems, thereby compromising work safety. Additionally, they were found negligent in providing adequate instruction, training, and pertinent information linked to safety compliance. Legal costs amounting to $5,682 were additionally levied against them.

The incident that prompted the litigation occurred in February 2022. A young worker, just 22 years old, was reaching for a takeaway container lid stored on a high shelf when her hair got entangled in the turning cog of the store’s rotisserie machine. Her co-worker responded quickly, activating the emergency stop button, while nearby help successfully disentangled her hair using a cut-away approach. Still, consequences were significant; the worker lost a substantial amount of hair, experienced swelling in her head, and spent two weeks recuperating away from work.

Regrettably, it wasn’t until a post-incident training session that employees became aware of the existing workplace SWMS policies and procedures. It showed the company’s negligence to provide essential guidelines earlier, significantly putting the employees’ safety at risk. Applying something similar to a Bluesafe SWMS could provide clear methods to approach tasks safely.

The painful incident highlighted how crucial it is for companies, like Souvlaki GR Plenty Pty Ltd, to have a reliable WHS management system, such as a Bluesafe WHS Management System in place. Standard protective measures should include wearing hairnets or buns and ensuring safe storage practices. By doing so, they reduce the risk corridor, promote safer work environments and enhance workers’ understanding of potential hazards, especially around machinery.

WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety, Sam Jenkin, emphasised the company’s failure to manage observable risks that caused the accident. According to him, the guidance needed for young employees could be as straightforward as proper training and supervision or ensuring safe storage practices and providing personal protective equipment.

In a bid to prevent similar incidents, employers must consider establishing safety management protocols such as the Bluesafe SWMS. For more information on how to enhance workplace safety, please email [email protected] or call 0438 786 968. You can also subscribe to our media releases for regular updates.

Original article link: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/news/2024-07/takeaway-fined-75000-after-hair-caught-rotisserie