The Industrial Relations Court has fined
an engineering company $187,500 for a workplace accident in May 2009 that
left a man partially paralysed.
The company was fined for failing to install guard railings
around a machine that prepared asphalt.
The court found there were also limited safety protocols
regarding the cleaning of the machine, the task that the worker was undertaking
at the time of the accident.
The victim, who had worked for the company for eight years,
slipped into the pit during a break in cleaning and was crushed between the
incline conveyor belt and drum roller.
He sustained partial tetraplegia, significant brain
injuries, broken bones and nerve damage.
In his judgment, Magistrate Michael Ardlie said the incident
could have led to death.
"The employee is highly unlikely to be able to work again or
to be able to live independently," Mr Ardlie said.
"It is clear, and it was not disputed, that in the
circumstances the risk was that the employee could have suffered fatal
He added that the company had shown regret and had taken
action to ensure proper protection and safe work practices were carried out
throughout its Dry Creek plant.
"It went further to ensure that Australia wide all its plant
was reviewed to ensure that guarding was adequate," he said.