Last week we reported on two cases of employers being prosecuted after workers received hand injuries. Since the last edition,there have been two more prosecutions involving workers injuring their hands.

Hand injury leads to $40,000 fine

A Dandenong South health supplements manufacturer has been convicted and fined $40,000 (plus $1875 in costs) after a worker’s hand was crushed between two rollers. 

Cosmax NBT Australia Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to provide a working environment that was safe and without risks to health for not ensuring adequate guarding around moving machine parts.

In September 2018, a labour hire worker was feeding gel sheets through a machine to press pill capsules, when his left hand was caught and dragged into a series of rollers. He was taken to hospital with serious laceration and crush injuries to his left hand.

The court heard guarding around the roller would have been reasonably practicable to prevent entanglement injuries. Cosmax NBT Australia had a total of six encapsulation machines that had no guarding around running rollers.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said workers were too often exposed to the well-known dangers of moving machinery. "Injuries to workers entangled or crushed in machines can be devastating and this horrific incident would have been prevented had the company put guarding in place to deal with an obvious hazard." Read more: WorkSafe media release

Entanglement costs employer $12,000 + costs

Arrow Wood Products, a Tullamarine based benchtop cabinet maker, was last week fined $12,000 (plus $4,873 in costs), without conviction, after an 18 year old employee had his hand dragged into the rollers of a laminating machine. The court found Arrow Wood failed to reduce the risk of entanglement with the danger area by installing proper guarding or an an interlocked physical barrier allowing access to the danger area. The company also failed to notify WorkSafe Victoria of the incident. 

Bus manufacturer convicted, fined $30,000 after worker crushed by bus wall

In a lucky escape, a worker suffered just an injury to her thigh after a 100kg bus wall fell on top of her. On 5 October 2018 an employee was using a gantry crane to lift a bus side wall at Volgren Australia. A spotter was helping guide the wall. Meanwhile, the injured employee was doing welding work on a chassis. She was crouched down facing the front tyre, wearing a welding mask and earplugs.

As the side wall was maneuvered over the chassis, the gantry crane lcame into close proximity to another gantry crane, triggering a proximity sensor which immediately stopped the side wall from moving. This caused it to swing, bend and collapse in two pieces. The front collapsed and fell over the chassis and onto the welder. The rear fell towards and struck the crane operator's foot. He was uninjured as he was wearing safety boots.

Volgren pleaded guilty and was convicted and fined $30,000 (plus $4,250 costs).

To find our more details, and to keep up to date with new prosecutions, check WorkSafe Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings webpage.

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