Fined for tractor accident

June 16, 2017

A workplace tractor accident that left a Victorian man with spinal injuries has cost one of Australia’s largest lettuce and salad growers $108000 in fines and legal bills.

WorkSafe Victoria said the Covino Farms tractor driver could have died when he was run over while checking if seeds were being planted properly in January 2015.

The accident broke his cheekbone and four ribs and dislocated his neck, which placed pressure on his spinal cord.

He then got up and ran after the moving tractor, managing to climb into it and stop the engine before heading to hospital.

In another incident at the Gippsland farm just weeks later, a worker climbing down a ladder fell into an uncovered drain and cut his leg.

‘‘The company was fortunate that both workers were not killed,’’ WorkSafe said.

Covino Farms pleaded guilty last Wednesday in Latrobe Magistrates’ Court to twice breaching workplace safety laws and was ordered to pay $85000 in fines and just under $23000 in court costs.

The business said it regretted the incidents had happened, and that the workers had made a full recovery and returned to work.

‘‘(Covino) has since reiterated its commitment to workplace safety practices to ensure the welfare of all its employees,’’ a statement posted online said.

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