Prosecutions

Labour hire agency fined after worker's finger amputated

In June 2018, on his first day of work in the bread packing area at Davies Bakery Pty Ltd, an employee of labour hire agency Chandler Personnel Services Pty. Limited, was removing bread from the infeed conveyor to the slicer. This was a common practice, done daily, to prevent bread building up when the slicer stopped working. While undertaking this task, his right-hand middle finger went through the conveyor belt, came into contact with the in running nip point, and was amputated.

The worker had worked in the pastry section of the site for about a year, but had not been inducted at the workplace nor given any training or information on the machines there by the host employer. The day before the incident, Chandler directed him to work in the bread packing area.

Chandker failed to assess the work related activities, including the bread line, to ensure that employees were capable of undertaking the required work safely and liaising with the host employer about risks and means to control those risks. The company pleaded guilty and was without conviction fined $7,000 plus $6,566.60 costs.

Developer fined, not convicted, after contractors trapped in trench

Oxha Nominees Pty. Ltd, the developer and principal contractor building a multi-level aged care facility in Epping, engaged plumbing subcontractors to do work including the installation of sewer lines.

On 25 February 2019, two workers were engulfed and trapped to shoulder height in a trench when one of the trench walls collapsed.  They were taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

A signed SWMS identified the risk of trench collapse, and the control measures which were to batter and bench the trench sides or use trench boxes (shields). The SWMS also identified the risk of falling into the trench and that the trench be guarded with barricades. The Site Manager was nominated as the person responsible for controlling these risks.

Two trench shields were in place – but a portion of the trench was unprotected.  There was also an exclusion zone with temporary steel fencing around the perimeter of the works – which was removed after the incident, and prior to WorkSafe attendance, so emergency services had better access to the two workers in the trench.

The company pleaded guilty to a rolled-up charge that included a failure to control the risk of trench collapse and a failure to control the risk of falling into the trench. It was, without conviction, fined $25,000 plus $2,551 costs. This incident could have resulted in the death

To check for more Victorian prosecutions before the next edition, go to WorkSafe Victoria's Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings webpage. 

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