BEER giant Foster’s has been slapped with a $1.125 million fine over the death of a worker at its Abbotsford brewery.
Father of three Cuu Huynh, 58, died after being trapped in a sensor-controlled door of a machine he was operating on April 13, 2006.
Mr Huynh’s neck was jammed between a handrail and the heavy steel door of a depalletising machine, which moved bottles along a conveyor to be filled.
He died in hospital a week later.
The total fine was the second highest in Victoria.
The fines of $562,500 on each of two breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act were the largest fines imposed for single offences.
Foster’s Australia Limited pleaded guilty in the County Court to failing to provide a safe workplace, and failing to provide adequate training and supervision.
The maximum penalty for each charge is $943,290.
Judge Jane Campton said a moving tribute to Mr Huynh by his son Frankie, which was read to the County Court, would have made his father proud.
A keen ballroom dancer, Mr Huynh worked hard to give his children the education he had never had.
Judge Campton said Foster’s should have been well aware of the risk the unguarded machine posed to workers after a similar incident in 2002, in which a man’s head became caught.
She said it was surprising that two assessments of the equipment after the 2002 accident had rated the risk of being crushed as low.
The judge said workers were encouraged not to stop the machines to clear jams or for cleaning. Judge Campton said many workers were unfamiliar with standard operating procedures for the machines and some were given leaflets to read but did not have enough English to understand them.
“Foster’s Abbotsford brewery has a large migrant workforce and our members there have repeatedly called for its safety guidelines to be translated and explained in other languages,” Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union state secretary Jess Walsh said outside court.
Foster’s has since upgraded the machines at a cost of $3.9 million.