A company has been fined $ 30,000 after a worker’s thumb was caught in a metal bar bending machine.
The 28-year-old machine operator was brought to a hospital where his thumb was amputated.
The company pleaded guilty in the Dandenong Magistrates Court on 7 February to one charge under section 21(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing to, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a safe working environment.
The victim was collecting steel bars when the incident happened on 26 July 2017. He was removing a steel bar when his left thumb became caught between a fixed guard and conveyor.
An investigation into the incident revealed that a 10mm gap between the conveyor and a fixed metal guard posed a risk of entanglement or crush injury as a worker’s hand could enter the gap and be exposed to the conveyor.
The company conducted a safety audit prior to the incident but failed to identify the risk.
The company was fined without conviction because of its early guilty plea and no prior convictions.
The court heard the company complied with three improvement notices, fixing a yellow metal plate and two guards at the end of the conveyor and moving an emergency stop button to make it accessible to workers.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said missing or inadequate guarding could cause severe injuries or even death.
“This horrific and debilitating kind of injury should not be occurring in the 21st century, yet machine guarding remains one of the state’s biggest workplace safety issues,” she said.
“Employers must make sure approved physical barriers or guards are fitted to all moving machine parts that can have contact with any part of the body.”
The company was ordered to pay WorkSafe $ 5,000 in legal costs.
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