Pacific Salt worker Courtney Herbert had arm dragged into conveyor belt as company is fined $75,000

The desperate measures horrified workers had to use to save teen girl after she was DRAGGED screaming into a salt press at work and crushed by the conveyor belt

  • Woman had arm dragged into roller at salt factory leaving permanent damage
  • Courtney Herbert worked at Pacific Salt factory in Whyalla on April 17, 2020 
  • She brushed salt off conveyor belt when shirt became caught in machinery
  • Her arm was dragged into a roller and freed after minutes of agonising pain 

A young woman has been left with permanent injuries after a horror incident at the salt factory where her right arm was dragged into a roller.

Courtney Herbert was left in agonising pain after her arm was trapped in the machinery at the Pacific Salt factory in Whyalla, South Australia, on April 17, 2020.

The then-18-year-old had been brushing excess salt from a conveyor belt when her shirt became caught, dragging her arm into the roller.

Court documents revealed the desperate measures Ms Herbert’s colleagues resorted to with one grabbing a nearby spanner to release the tension of the roller so she could pull her arm out. 

Another worker frantically turned off the machine to stop the conveyer belt crushing her arm. 

Courtney Herbert was left in agonising pain after her arm was trapped in the machinery

Courtney Herbert was left in agonising pain after her arm was trapped in the machinery

Courtney Herbert was left in agonising pain after she became trapped in the machinery at a Pacific Salt factory in Whyalla, South Australia, on April 17, 2020

Courtney Herbert was left in agonising pain after she became trapped in the machinery at a Pacific Salt factory in Whyalla, South Australia, on April 17, 2020

Ms Herbert was taken to hospital to receive surgery and left with damage to her tendons. 

Pacific Salt, which is the producer behind the famous Olsson’s Salt, was taken to the South Australian Employment Tribunal following the incident and pleaded guilty to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act.

The judgement was published on July 29 and found Pacific Salt had failed to provide a safe system of work and that the incident could have been avoided. 

Deputy President Magistrate Cole pointed out no emergency stop had been installed on the conveyor and the return rollers on the devices were not properly guarded. 

In her victim impact statement, read to the court by her lawyer, Ms Herbert said she still suffered from stress, pain and discomfort following the incident.

‘She says that she felt unsupported when she returned to work after about two months, and she left her employment with the defendant soon after,’ the statement read.

‘Ms Herbert still has emotional effects from the incident, including fear of conveyors.’

Ms Herbert said she still experienced pain in her arm more than two years later.

The incident was more than two years ago but she still regularly has bouts of pain from the incident

The incident was more than two years ago but she still regularly has bouts of pain from the incident 

Pacific Salt was taken to the South Australian Employment Tribunal following the incident and pleaded guilty to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act

Pacific Salt was taken to the South Australian Employment Tribunal following the incident and pleaded guilty to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act

‘There is still a big scar and tendon damage, it is still hard to use my arm,’ she told The Advertiser

Pacific Salt has since spent $20,000 installing guards and an emergency stop control device on the conveyor.

More than $300,000 has also been spent on upgrading existing guarding and installing new ones on its plant and equipment.  

Magistrate Cole labelled the incident a ‘serious regulatory breach’, imposed a conviction and fined the company $75,000.

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