Latest Injuries & Incidents


Company ordered to spend $200,000 fixing dangerous machines

A labour hire company has been ordered to spend $200,000 improving safety on its clients’ machines after a worker was dragged hip-deep into inadequately guarded rollers, resulting in serious pelvic and ankle injuries.

Skilled Group Limited was given the order at Geelong Magistrates’ Court last week after it pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe plant and a safe system of work to its employees.

The ruling, by Magistrate Ann McGarvie, requires Skilled to engage an OHS consultant at its own expense to visit its clients’ workplaces to determine where and how the money should be spent.

The court heard that that on 13 April 2011, a machine operator sent by Skilled to the East Geelong factory of Huyck Wangner Australia Pty Ltd was dragged feet-first into rollers on a loom as he tried to remove loose yarn from a length of felt. His pelvis was fractured in two places and his ankle injured.

Skilled took over as the employer of the machine operator from another labour hire company three days prior to the incident.

The investigation found that Skilled failed to undertake an adequate hazard assessment in relation to the machine.

Although it was guarded by a laser cut-off device, the laser was only ankle-high and could be stepped over. The machine could also be reactivated by a remote control when someone was close to it, and there was no safe system for removing loose yarns from the rollers, a task which was often necessary to perform.

Skilled, which suggested the improvement project to the court instead of a fine, will use the advice of its OHS consultant to identify which of its clients have machines or safety procedures that require improvement.

Skilled has 12 months to complete the project and is required to report on its progress to WorkSafe. If it fails to spend the entire $200,000, it has to donate the remainder to a relevant charity, in consultation with WorkSafe.

Skilled is the second company to face court over the incident. The host company Huyck Wangner Australia Pty Ltd, was fined $55,000 by Magistrate McGarvie last month.

WorkSafe Health and Safety operations General Manager, Lisa Sturzenegger welcomed the project.

“There’s been more that 11,000 injuries caused by dangerous machines and common power tools over the past five years. That costs $220 million in medical treatment, rehabilitation and income support during the same period,” she said.

“Many injuries caused by unsafe machines are debilitating, long lasting and often permanent. They can also be avoided through simple measures such as guarding or training.”


Referenece: WorkSafe VIC


Building company convicted and fined for fatality

A structural collapse which killed a man at Dandenong South in 2008 has resulted in a $350,000 fine for a major development company.

The partly-completed steel frame of a warehouse measuring 82m x 240m collapsed and struck the worker on 2 April 2008.

Australand Industrial Constructions Pty Ltd was the principal builder of the project.

It pleaded guilty to a charge laid under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing to ensure the workplace was safe and without risks to health.

Sentencing the company in the Melbourne County Court this morning, Judge Gaynor said the risk to people at the workplace was extraordinarily high and that Australand Industrial Constructions would have been fined $500,000 had it not pleaded guilty.

“In this case, Australand Constructions had management and control of the construction site and failed to ensure there was adequate temporary bracing to ensure the structure was stable,” the acting director of WorkSafe’s construction and utilities team, Allan Beacom said.

“Ensuring partially erected structures are stable, at all times, is a fundamental safety issue in construction.

“There are a surprisingly high number of structural failures where this simple step has not been done, and in every case, people are at risk.

“The incident must act as a reminder to all that fundamental safety responsibilities must be adhered to.

“Even if no one is hurt the commercial impact, project delays and penalties can be significant.

“In Victoria, where there is the added risk of strong winds at any time of year – this measure is even more important.”    

Charges arising from the incident against other defendants are still to be heard.

The charge:

Australand Industrial Constructions Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge of breaching Section.26 of the OHS Act 2004 which relates to its failing to ensure the workplace was safe, to the extent it exercised management & control on the site


Referenece: Worksafe VIC