Fined a second time

Monday, 07 May, 2007

An Otways timber company and its director have been convicted and fined for the second time in four years for workplace health and safety breaches.

The second fine was issued for health and safety charges after failure to comply with two safety improvement notices and allowing unsafe work practices.

WorkSafe Vic told the court a WorkSafe inspector identified a number of health and safety issues on 29 April 2005.

These included unguarded machines; unattended boilers with no evidence of safety inspections; boiler safety switches that were not connected to the boiler; and a screw auger inside a timber box that had the lid propped open with a piece of timber.

Fifteen improvement notices were issued in April and May 2005. The court found two of these had not been complied with.

Magistrate Beck said workplace health and safety was mandatory, not optional, and what was acceptable in sawmills 20 years ago was not acceptable now.

WorkSafe's Manufacturing Logistics and Agriculture program director Trevor Martin said guarding and regular maintenance were fundamental safety issues that were easily managed and which ensured workers were not maimed or killed.

"The human and commercial impact of not obeying these laws is enormous and frequently permanent."

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