Integral Energy fined $150,000 after woodchipping injury

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Sunday, 22 May, 2005

Integral Energy has been fined a total of $150,000 by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission sitting in court session following serious injury to a worker using a woodchipping machine.

Integral Energy Australia pleaded guilty to three charges brought by WorkCover NSW arising from breaches of Section 15(1) and 16(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983. On 17 May 2001, Integral was conducting clearing and chipping of vegetation near overhead powerlines at Bargo when a contract worker feeding branches into a woodchipper became entangled and was dragged into the machine. The man suffered injuries to his right hand, arm, body and head, which required 118 stitches. Evidence submitted by WorkCover demonstrated that the feed shute of the woodchipper was too short and presented a foreseeable risk of an operator becoming entangled and dragged into the machine. In handing down the penalty, Justice Staff said: "The seriousness of the breach of the Act is demonstrated clearly by the seriousness of the injuries suffered by (the worker)." Justice Staff also ordered Integral to pay a moiety of the fine to WorkCover. WorkCover chief executive officer, Jon Blackwell commented: "This case illustrates the importance of ensuring a safe workplace."

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