Silo manufacturing company fined after worker loses foot

A silo manufacturing company in Rochester has been fined $ 30,000 after a worker’s leg was crushed by a mobile crane, leading to its amputation.

The company was fined at the Echuca Magistrate’s Court after pleading guilty to two charges under the OHS Act 2004 for failing to provide and maintain systems of work that are safe and failing to provide adequate training in relation to the hazards and risks associated with working in close proximity to the mobile plant or stabilising loads.

The company was also ordered to pay $ 3430 in costs.

The court heard that on 7 March 2016, a crane driver at the Kyabram Rd site was using a mobile crane to transport 12 sections of steel measuring 6-10 metres each.

He asked a co-worker to walk alongside the crane to balance the steel sections with his hand so they would not rotate.

After walking alongside the moving crane for about 20 metres, the worker stumbled and fell and the crane ran over his leg.

He suffered a fractured hip socket and a crushed foot in the incident and was taken to Bendigo Hospital where his foot was amputated.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that the usual procedure in transporting stays with the mobile crane involved an employee stabilising the stays by hand while walking alongside the moving crane, placing workers at risk of colliding with the crane.

The investigation also revealed that the victim had worked at the company for a year, but had not received any training in relation to the risks associated with working in close proximity to mobile plant or stabilising loads.

The company also had no documented Job Safety Assessments, safe work procedures, Safe Work Method Statements or maintenance records in relation to the mobile crane.

The court heard that since the incident, the company had employed an occupational health and safety officer, created safe work documents and no longer used the mobile crane.

It now uses an overhead factory bridge crane for similar tasks or a private crane company.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said if the company had followed standard industry safety procedures, the worker’s terrible injury could have been avoided.

“The company failed on many counts,” Ms. Williams said. “It failed to train its workers and it failed to have appropriate safety processes in place – and followed – for high-risk work. Putting workers in harm’s way by asking them to stabilise heavy loads by hand while walking in close proximity to a mobile crane is appalling and totally unacceptable.

“Powered mobile machinery is a leading cause of death and serious injury in Victorian workplaces. Too many workers are still being hit by, crushed or fall from powered mobile machinery onsite. But every incident is preventable.”

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