Crush injury leads to fine and conviction for car repairer

Tuesday, 13 February, 2018

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A fine has been issued to a Dandenong car repairer after a mechanic was crushed by a vehicle on an incorrectly operated hoist.

Birch Automotive Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to two charges associated with failing to provide a safe system of work and was fined $40,000. It was also ordered to pay $3500 in costs.

The court heard that the victim, who was a visiting mechanic to the site, was talking to a Birch Automotive employee beneath the hoist holding up a Holden sedan on 12 September 2016.

When the hoist arms moved, the car slipped and fell onto the victim, who received significant injuries including a broken hip, eight broken ribs, a fractured sacrum, broken collarbone and a heart tear.

The employee was also struck, but managed to jump clear without injury.

WorkSafe Victoria investigated the incident and found the hoist did not have its support arm locking mechanisms engaged to prevent the car slipping off.

WorkSafe Head of Operations and Emergency Management Adam Watson said the incident was a terrible example of a trauma that could have been avoided by the implementation of safe working procedures.

“Incidents like this just should not happen,” Watson said.

“The dangers associated with hoisting heavy items such as cars are obvious and workplaces performing these kinds of tasks need to develop plans to ensure work can be done safely, communicate these to all staff and insist that they are followed.

“Staff should also to be properly trained so that they can recognise the dangers in the work they do.”

According to WorkSafe Victoria, safety measures for working with hoists include:

  • ensuring the hoist design prevents the support arms from being left unlocked when raised;
  • providing information, instruction and training to workers on the safe use of vehicle hoists, including pre-hoisting inspections and maintenance instructions;
  • conducting a visual check prior to hoisting to ensure the vehicle support arm mechanisms are correctly locked;
  • ensuring operation and maintenance instructions are prominently displayed around the hoist, and that the safe work load is prominently displayed on equipment;
  • ensuring hoists are inspected as required to ensure their ongoing safe use.

Image credit: ©teracreonte/Dollar Photo Club

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