A foundry and metal casting business in Victoria has been convicted and fined $650,000 following the death of an employee at the company’s Wodonga foundry.
Bradken Resources was fined in the Melbourne County Court after being found guilty by a Wangaratta County Court jury of failing to provide and maintain safe plant following a 10-day trial.
A WorkSafe Victoria investigation into the death led to the company being charged with a single breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The court heard the deceased employee was operating a skid steer loader to move recently-cast heavy metal components into a cooling bin, when a 276kg metal casting crashed through the skid steer windscreen onto him, killing him.
WorkSafe told the court the weight, heat and proximity of the castings created a risk that employees operating the loader could suffer burns leading to serious injury or death.
Although there had been no prior incidents of a casting falling back onto the windscreen of a skid steer loader, the court heard Bradken knew, or ought to have known, from previous similar incidents that this could happen.
The court was told it had been reasonably practicable for Bradken to reduce that risk by using alternative machinery, such as a rock excavator, that did not put its employees as close to the castings.
The incident was a tragic reminder of the catastrophic consequences that not having appropriate machinery and systems in place can have, said WorkSafe Victoria Health and Safety Executive Director Julie Nielsen.
“Every family should expect that when their loved ones go off to work, their employer is doing their utmost to keep them safe.”
“This includes making sure they are using appropriate machinery and equipment and that measures are put in place to control risks as they are identified.”