Prosecutions

Ladder fall results in full arm amputation, $120k fine
Victorian employer AAZ Recycling and Waste Management Pty Ltd was last week found guilty of OHS breaches and fined $120,000, and almost $5,000 in costs, at an ex parte hearing, after an employee's arm was amputated at the shoulder when he fell from a ladder.

In May 2017, he was using a stick to try to clear a blockage on a conveyor on a shredder machine, while he on an A-frame ladder, when he slipped and fell towards the machine's in-feed conveyor.  The stick and his left hand were caught in an in-running nip point: his arm was dragged into the conveyor belt and tail drum, resulting in the amputation.

The Moorabbin Magistrates Court found the Clayton South company breached section 21 of the OHS Act in failing to take reasonably practicable steps to eliminate or reduce risks to workers, like installing appropriate guarding on the conveyor belt and tail drum, and installing emergency stop buttons on that area of the machine. The employer also failed to: have documented plant isolation procedures; provide adequate safety information, instructions or training; or provide supervision to ensure workers switched off and isolated the shredder machine before accessing the tail drum. (Source: OHS Alert)

Builder fined $50k after beam collapse
Inner East Constructions Pty Ltd, was the principal contractor for a home renovation in Malvern, and was last week found guilty, convicted and fined $50,000 (plus over $5000 costs) for breaching several sections of the OHS Act in an ex parte hearing in the Moorabbin Magistrates Court.

In December 2016, a temporary beam had been installed over an excavated cellar in the front entrance area of the home. The beam was not included in certified structural plans and its load bearing capacity was unknown. On 2 September 2017 the floor collapsed when a renderer sought to place 90 bags of render, each bag weighing approximately 14 kilograms (totalling approximately 1.26 tonnes), inside on the temporary floor under which was the beam. As the 84th bag was being placed, the floor collapsed. The worker suffered injury to his right elbow, left shoulder, left knee and head.

The Court found Inner East constructions did not take reasonable actions - such as engaging a competent engineer to calculate the beam's load bearing capacity and/or identifying any necessary additional bracing.

To check all of the recent prosecutions, go to the WorkSafe Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings webpage.

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