Crush injury from unguarded machine results fines totalling $35K

A Melbourne forging company and a sub-contractor have received fines totalling $35,000 after a worker had his thumb crushed in an unguarded machine.

The case was heard in Broadmeadows Magistrates Court this week. Campbellfield manufacturing company, Greg Sewell Forgings pleaded guilty in to the charges of failing to provide instruction, training and supervision.

The worker’s thumb was crushed on 29 September 2010 when he was using an unguarded operating press.

According to a statement by WorkSafe Victoria, an important safety device – which stops the machine when guarding is removed – had been taken off.

The court heard that the device was removed by the co-accused sub-contractor Leslie Grinter, who was engaged by Greg Sewell Forgings to carry out work and training at the site.

Grinter spent 10 minutes removing the device on the day of the incident, then trained the worker to use the press without the guard.

Grinter later told WorkSafe investigators he was aware the press was being used by the worker without the interlocking guard.

The company did not know the guard had been removed by the sub-contractor, WorkSafe's investigation found. However the company was held accountable for failing to provide proper supervision, instruction and training.

Greg Sewell Forgings was this week fined $30,000, without conviction. Grinter received a $5000 fine in May after pleaded guilty to a failure by a self-employed person to ensure people are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

The two prosecutions come as WorkSafe begins a 12-month campaign targeting dangerous machines. Last month WorkSafe released a safety alert on working with rotating machines.


Image: Broadmeadows Magistrates Court. Source: Magistrates' Court of Victoria

[This article first appeared on the Safe to Work website, also published by Reed Business Information.]


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