The company was sentenced in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Friday. Photo: File
The company was sentenced in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Friday. Photo: File

CQ beef processor fined $75k after worker falls from machine

A Central Queensland beef processing company will pay a $75,000 fine because one of its workers fell two metres from a machine while on the job.

Teys Australia Biloela Pty Ltd was sentenced in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Friday for one count of failing to comply with its health and safety duty (category 2).

Court documents said the sentencing was in relation to an incident in 2016: on July 20, worker Sheryl Tickner, employed since 2006, was operating a hide puller from a raised platform.

One of the machine’s support arms failed, the operator platform pivoted, and Tickner fell two metres and hit his head on the concrete ground below.

The helmet he was wearing fell off during the fall and he was knocked unconscious.

Tickner broke his ribs, fractured and cut his skull, received two contusions, and suffered bleeding to the brain.

Teys Australia CEO Brad Teys and Tickner attended the proceedings; both parties “agreed as to the ultimate penalty”.

Teys’ solicitor Samantha Cathcart read out a statement on behalf of the respondent, saying that as “a good corporate citizen”, it “expresses remorse at the occurrence of this incident; it was very unfortunate”.

She said “substantial changes have been made” to the machine, and the court heard the company had adopted dye penetrant testing at all of its sites.

Magistrate Gary Finger said he had “taken into account that the company has a history of this sort of offence; that they have an ongoing commitment to the community as a corporate citizen”.

He said the maximum penalty for such an offence was $1,500,000.

Teys pleaded guilty and was fined $75,000, payable to the Department of Justice and Attorney-General along with $97.95 for court costs.

It was also ordered to pay a total of $2,115.40 to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

Teys referred the fine to SPER and no conviction was recorded.