Crushed hand leads to $55K fine for Campbellfield company

WorkSafe Victoria

Friday, 10 January, 2020

Crushed hand leads to $55K fine for Campbellfield company

Cardboard box manufacturer Lakeside Packaging has been convicted and fined $55,000 after pleading guilty in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court to one charge of failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

In March 2016, an experienced paper maker, who was not an employee of the company, was helping test the new paper mill when his left glove was caught in a nip point between two moving rollers, with the 48-year-old’s hand pulled into the roller and crushing his fingers. The incident caused serious injuries that required surgery. Just two hours earlier, a 28-year-old employee caught his hand in the same nip point, resulting in a severe injury that required surgery. A WorkSafe investigation revealed that plans were prepared for the installation of a physical barrier to guard the perimeter of the paper mill area before the incidents occurred, but were never completed.

“Failing to install proper guarding before using moving machinery is simply unacceptable and can have horrific consequences. No worker should be left permanently impaired or maimed because an employer fails to address serious health and safety risks. The dangers of exposing workers to entrapment or crush injuries when working with moving machinery are well known and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who ignore them,” said Julie Nielsen, WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety.

To prevent entrapment, employers should fit gates or guards to machinery to prevent access to in-running nip points and other moving parts. When required, employers should also fit interlock devices to prevent machines from starting if an access point is open, or to stop them if an access point is opened while running.

Staff should also receive training in the safe operation of machines and equipment, with written procedures provided in the worker’s first language. Signs should be placed on or near a machine to alert employees to the dangers of operating it. Employers should also consider whether hair, clothing, gloves, neckties, jewellery, cleaning brushes or other materials can become entangled in the machine. Machines should also be regularly serviced and inspected.

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