A YOUNG Irishwoman who was left permanently disfigured after a horrendous farming accident in Australia is suing the company which employed her.
Annie Dunne, 21, was scrubbing the underside of a conveyor belt in a packing shed in Shepparton, Victoria two years ago when her hair became tangled in the machine.
The rotating drive shaft tore half her scalp and one of her ears off in the sickening incident.
The Co. Tipperary native had been picking fruit at the facility to earn money during her backpacking travels Down Under.
Kalafatis Packing now faces a AU$244,000 (£145,000) fine and is facing two charges before Shepparton Magistrates’ Court this week.
It is understood the firm intends to plead guilty in the case.
Investigations into the 2015 incident found there were a number of basic safety failures in the packing shed, while staff were not instructed to turn off the machine while cleaning it.
Shockingly, the conveyor belt’s protective ‘interlock guards’ had been removed and not replaced at the time of Ms Dunne’s accident.
Language barriers between staff and bosses may also have played a role, according to WorkSafe Victoria.
Kalafatis Packing said they had since made a number of changes following safety inspections.
Earlier this year, the labour hire firm that placed Ms Dunne at the facility was fined AU$60,000 (£34,400) over the incident.
Another company – T&R Contracting Shepparton Ltd – who find backpackers interested in picking fruit, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a safe working environment.
Pleas and sentencing will take place at Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on January 11.