Meat workers file separate complaints against same Australian company

Date: Sep 12, 2013

To get a better understanding of what options are available when you are injured on the job, you may want to look at the results of two complaints that employees of Teys Australia filed against the company, after both were injured in separate workplace accidents.

While total permanent disability claims are often what most people think of in workplace accidents, a public liability injury claim is also an option.

Such was the case when Teys Australia Meat Group was forced to pay more than $1 million to two workers who were injured in the meat plant.

In the first instance, Rockhampton's Peter Mackenzie filed a complaint against the company after he slipped on the job and severely sliced his hand open in 2011. The accident occurred while Mr Mackenzie was cleaning cow fat, blood and other waste from a tray, which he claims wrongly ended up there after falling off a conveyer belt.

Mr. Mackenzie claims the ladder he was using to clean the tray was also covered in the waste that had fallen off the belt, making it slippery and dangerous to work on. Once he slipped, the worker grabbed the tray to try to regain balance, cutting his hand open.

Mr Mackenzie's lawyers stated that "A case like this highlights the dangers in the workplace if complaints aren't acted on immediately".

A different kind of injury

Workplace accidents don't always have to be instant and terrifying occurrences, though. In the case of another Teys worker, it was the years of pulling, pushing and cutting meat that eventually led to his permanent disability.

According to the Morning Bulletin, the unnamed plaintiff claims that, on average, he stretched across a table about 800 times per day to cut a 15kg slice of meat and then push it aside to a conveyor belt.

Now, medical experts have confirmed that this repetition over a long period of time resulted in a chronic injury to his lumbar spine.

Because this work pace was based on a preset conveyor belt – and because the company did not rotate employee positions – the plaintiff claims Teys is responsible for his suffering. The worker also argues that his injury has led to depression and an anxiety disorder.

Both workers are hoping to receive $750,000 in their complaints.

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