Unguarded machinery an easy issue to fix

Friday, 23 February, 2007

Unguarded machines and inadequate procedures are some of the easiest workplace health and safety issues to fix, according to WorkSafe Vic executive director, John Merritt.

Merritt made the statement following news of a conviction and $150,000 in fines for two printing companies after a worker lost part of a finger to an unguarded machine.

"Doing it after a death or injury is too late. Machines should be provided with guards when purchased, fitted later in the case of older plant or if they cannot be fitted for some technical reason, the risk must be managed," he said.

"Businesses with unguarded machines, particularly those where an injury is caused, are at risk of self-selecting for prosecution. As this case shows, the penalties can be considerable."

The court was told that the worker was feeding paper into an inadequately guarded printing press when his finger was caught in the machine. Communications were limited by noise and the inability of the machine's operator to see the man who was injured.

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