Belfast Telegraph

Firm fined £37k after young Irish backpacker suffers horrific injures in fruit-packing incident

An Australian firm involved in an horrific fruit-picking accident in which a young Irish backpacker was seriously injured has been fined $60,000 - approximately £37,000.

Tipperary native Annie Dunne suffered extensive injuries when her hair got caught in a mechanical conveyor belt at a packing shed in Shepparton Victoria in November, 2015.

It is understood Ms Dunne - originally from Kilkeary outside Nenagh - was working to fulfil the 89 days of regional work required to extend her working holiday visa for a second year at the time.

'The Age' newspaper in Australia reports that Ms Dunne was cleaning the conveyor belt which was used to deliver pears for distribution when her hair became entangled in a rotating drive shaft.

She suffered extensive damage to her scalp and one of her ears in the incident.

The labour hire firm - T&R Contracting Shepparton Pty Ltd - yesterday pleaded guilty at Shepparton Magistrates Court to failing to provide a safe working environment as it had not provided instruction and training to the young backpacker.

It was fined Aus$60,000 and had to pay another Aus$8,000 in legal costs.

The firm that runs the farm, Kalafatis Packing Pty Ltd, and its manager Dimitrios Vagelatos are also both facing charges, with the case due to be heard next month.

WorkSafe's Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said it was "staggering" that workers were expected to clean the machines while they were still in operation, 'The Age' reported.

Irish Independent


From Belfast Telegraph