A Victorian company was recently fined $55,000 after a worker was dragged hip-deep into a machine causing serious pelvic and ankle injuries.
Huyck Wangner Australia, which makes felt for conveyer belts, pleaded guilty at the Geelong Magistrates’ Court to one charge of failing to provide a safe workplace under section 23(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The worker had been contracted by Skilled Group to work at the company’s East Geelong site as a machine operator before the incident in April last year.
The court heard the man was dragged feet-first into a roller on a loom while trying to remove loose yarn from fabric, and his pelvis was fractured in two places and his ankle was injured.
In the past four years, the courts have fined employers almost $2 million as a result of WorkSafe Victoria prosecutions relating to unguarded and unsafe machines.
WorkSafe Victoria’s investigation found there was no hazard identification such as a job safety analysis for operating the loom, inspecting fabric or removing loose yarn.
WorkSafe also found there was no interlock switch which would have prevented the machine from operating if someone was inside it.
Proper guarding was cheap and effective, according to WorkSafe Victoria’s regional director, Adam Rogers.
“We continue to see workers being hurt by common types of machines, and often the hazards and solutions are well known,” he said.
“It’s essential employers get on the front foot by taking a preventative approach to identifying and controlling the risk of dangerous machines at their workplace.”
Skilled Group also faces one charge in relation to the matter. The company has pleaded guilty to the charges and is expected to appear in court on 26 November.