Electroplater fined $300,000 after worker crushed

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Tuesday, 5 October, 2021 - 12:00
Incidents & prosecutions

A metal treatment business in Victoria has been convicted and fined $300,000 following the death of a worker who became trapped in an electroplating machine at a Delacombe factory.

ACE Metal Treatment Services was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to maintain plant that was safe and without risks to health.

On 29 October 2019, a worker suffered fatal chest injuries when he became trapped between a safety guard and the machine frame.

The court heard that safety guards on the side of the machine were designed to shut down the machine if there was an obstruction between them and the frame, however, the safety switches were not working.

A WorkSafe investigation found the company had failed to:

  • Maintain the electroplating machine in a way that was safe and without risks, by having an inoperative emergency stop button and safety switches and not having the machine serviced regularly.
  • Control the risks associated with the machine by preventing access while it was operating.

WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety Andrew Keen said there was no excuse for employers who put workers’ lives at risk by ignoring their health and safety obligations.

“This death is a tragic reminder that failing to make health and safety the first priority can have fatal consequences,” Keen said.

“If you’re running a business in Victoria, you have a responsibility to maintain a safe workplace, including regularly servicing machinery and providing appropriate safety instructions and training to workers.”