Welshpool manufacturing worker struck by rope press

WORKSAFE WA says a Welshpool manufacturing company has been fined $20,000 over an incident where a rope press shattered and struck an employee.

The employee at Jeminex Brands & Operations (formerly Beaver Brands) sustained injuries to his left arm during the incident.

The manufacturer pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court.

Jeminex Brands is a manufacturer of wire rope slings and chain slings. Using a rope press, wire rope of a required length is fed through an aluminium collar known as a “ferrule” and the ferrule is then compressed between two dies until they touch to hold the rope together.

The pressure applied by the dies is able to be varied according to the diameter of the rope, with maximum pressures stipulated in a chart of pressures in megapascals of pressure. The process is known as “swaging”.

In March 2010, a Jeminex employee was engaged in swaging rope.  He had already completed two ropes by visually determining when the dies touched.

When he swaged the third rope, the dies came together and shattered, causing lacerations to his left arm.

The amount of pressure on the dies can be pre-set, and once that maximum pressure is reached, the limit switch is activated and no further pressure can be applied.

The maximum pressure stipulated for the diameter of rope being used by the employee was five megapascals. The wire rope press was set at a maximum pressure of 34 megapascals.

The court heard that the employee was not instructed to check or change the maximum pressure of the wire rope press before he began the task.

It was practicable for the employer to have trained its employee to either set the press to the maximum recommended pressure or to set the pressure at a low level and increase it in small increments until the dies touched.

According to WorkSafe WA, the case is a reminder of the importance of training and instruction in the workplace.

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