DIRECTORS FINED FOR WORK INJURY AND FAILURE TO REPORT
The two directors of an Yorke Peninsula manufacturing firm have been fined more than $56,000 plus costs over an incident in which a young worker was injured by a machine, and their failure to report that and another incident.
Robert Venning Pty Ltd and Richard Venning Pty Ltd received a joint penalty yesterday after pleading guilty to breaching a section of the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986 and its Regulations, relating to their failure to provide a safe system of work, adequate information and instruction and failing to report this and another incident involving injury to SafeWork SA.
In October 2009, the 17 year old was operating a milling machine at the defendants’ premises at Kadina, where they manufacture grain handling equipment. During a particular task, his glove became caught in the machine’s rotating cutter, resulting in severe injuries to his right hand. Despite damage to the bones, muscles, tendons and nerves of his hand, he eventually returned to full duties until resigning to pursue other opportunities.
SafeWork SA told the court that there was no physical barrier preventing access to the moving parts, no warning notices and no adequate instruction or training given regarding safe use of the machine.
Due to the worker being admitted as a hospital inpatient, the employers were required to formally notify SafeWork SA but did not. When SafeWork SA was informed by the family and investigated, it found the defendants did not inform them that the same worker suffered another hand injury at work four months earlier. The court was told the defendants were unaware of their duty to report these incidents.
Industrial Magistrate Michael Ardlie fined the directors $33,750 over the breach for an unsafe workplace, and $11,250 for each of the two failures to report. The combined fine of $56,250 had been discounted by 25 percent to acknowledge cooperation with authorities, contrition and remedial action. “Unguarded machinery remains a common source of workplace harm despite all the information available and the numerous prosecutions we’ve undertaken of such matters,” said SafeWork SA Acting Executive Director, Bryan Russell. “The defendants’ ignorance of the law has been costly for them but more so for the injured worker concerned. “All of this could have been easily prevented if the defendants had been more proactive in their attitude towards safety,” Mr. Russell said.
For answers and advice on workplace health and safety and the relevant laws, call SafeWork SA’s telephone Help
Centre on 1 300 365 255. To report serious incidents and injuries in the workplace call 1 800 777 209