Unsafe work systen results in fine

Thursday, 22 April, 2004

A Penrith metals manufacturer has been fined $195,000 by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission sitting in court session following serious injuries suffered by a worker who became trapped in a conveyor.

Crane Enfield Metals Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to three charges brought by WorkCover NSW under Section 15(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983 for failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers.

On 17 December 1997, an employee had his right leg severed at the groin, two fingers amputated and other injuries when he became trapped in the chain-and-sprocket system of a conveyor used to move large metal ingots. Safety breaches undercovered by the WorkCover investigation included the failure to ensure that an appropriate isolating system was in place to prevent the conveyor operating while it was being worked on. In imposing the fine, Justice Wright ordered the company to pay WorkCover a moiety of the fine and WorkCover's legal costs.

WorkCover Acting Chief Executive Officer, John Watson commented: "This incident highlights the need for employers to provide systems of work that allow work to be carried out safely. This particular employer has been before the courts on a number of occassions for occupational health and safety related breaches in the past, and this latest case indicates that greater attention is required to achieve a secure working environment," Watson said.

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