A Dubbo business that a court heard had a history of operating machinery unsafely, has been fined $180,000 after a worker became trapped in a chaff cutting machine while it was still on.
Nerve endings from Lenard Mullen's leg had to be moved to his hand and he was forced to undergo three surgeries to treat tendon and ligament damage sustained in the accident at Furneys Stock Feeds in October 2016.
Mr Mullen's jumper got stuck in an unguarded part of the machine as he tried to use a 30-centimetre metal rod to clear a hay blockage.
His clothing wrapped tightly around his neck and concerned co-workers had to cut Mr Mullen free from the machine and switch it off after they heard him screaming, court documents said.
Following the incident the NSW workplace health and safety regulator launched legal action against Macquarie Milling, the company that owns Furneys Stock Feeds.
Roland Albert Samuels, the 62-year-old director of Macquarie Milling, was also charged with breaching work health and safety laws, and exposing Mr Mullen to a risk of death or serious injury.
Samuels and the company pleaded guilty to the charges.
In the Sydney District Court on April 10 Judge David Russell convicted both and fined Macquarie Milling $180,000.
Samuels was fined $22,500 and ordered to undertake a course in due diligence and work, health and safety risk management within six months.
"Until this accident occurred to Mr Mullen, the safety standards in the Macquarie Milling premises were quite poor," Judge Russell said when he handed down the sentence.
"The written safety documentation for the factory was virtually non-existent.
"Macquarie Milling has a significant history of inspectors finding that machinery on the premises was unsafe.
"Over the years a disturbingly high number of prohibition notices and improvement notices have been issued to Macquarie Milling."
Judge Russell noted Mr Samuels and the company have shown remorse for their actions and "...acknowledged that the injury to Mr Mullen was caused by their actions".
"To some extent Mr Samuels was let down by the managers below him," he said.
The court noted in 2015 another Macquarie Milling worker suffered a "near miss" with the same machine, in a similar manner.
"To date, Macquarie Milling has spent approximately $90,000 on reviewing and upgrading its workplace health and safety policies and procedures," Judge Russell said.
Macquarie Milling has the right to lodge an appeal.
Mr Samuels could not be reached when the Daily Liberal contacted him for comment.