Employer fined $40K for acid accident

Wednesday, 04 March, 2020

Employer fined $40K for acid accident

The director of cleaning chemicals manufacturer B&J Industries has been fined $40,000 for an incident that left an employee with permanent scarring. The employer failed to provide the necessary personal protective equipment required by law to prevent the incident and did not ensure that the employee was made aware of potential risks in the workplace.

The incident occurred when an acetic acid spill made contact with the employee’s skin, causing permanent scarring. The employee had migrated to Australia on a temporary work visa and had only been working at the company for two days prior to the incident. B&J Industries allegedly failed to take additional measures with staff members who do not speak English as a first language, to ensure they can do their job properly.

“The law is crystal clear; it’s employers’ responsibility to provide workers with the proper equipment they need to safely perform their job. Migrant and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) workers are over-represented in high-risk industries and have a greater chance of being injured at work, which is why employers should take extra steps,” said Kevin Anderson, Minister for Better Regulation.

In a collaboration with industry stakeholders, SafeWork NSW has developed translated webinars, YouTube videos and written resources to ensure CALD and migrant employees are better informed and safer while they are at work. SafeWork NSW research shows that migrant workers can be reluctant to speak up about unsafe work practices for fear of losing their work sponsorship or visa.

“If your employer won’t listen or you’re not comfortable raising a work health safety concern, we’ve developed an anonymous tool, ‘Speak up. Save lives’, to report unsafe work practices quickly and confidentially,” Anderson said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/ยงยุทธ จันทะบุตร

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