Komatsu Australia fined $375,000 for safety breaches

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Date: 
Friday, 17 July, 2020 - 11:45
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
National News

An international earth moving equipment company has been convicted and fined $375,000 after a worker received multiple severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, while servicing a bulldozer.

Komatsu Australia Pty Ltd supplied earthmoving equipment, parts and maintenance to Veolia Environmental Services Pty Ltd in 2016, and in 2017 a field service technician employed by Komatsu was reinstalling a cooling system to the bulldozer.

During the service, a “belly plate” weighing more than 230 kgs fell on the technician’s face and head, leading to multiple injuries.

The court found that the risk of a worker suffering serious injury or death as a result of being struck or crushed by the belly plate of a bulldozer was an obvious and known risk, said Executive Director of Investigations & Enforcement for SafeWork NSW, Valerie Griswold.

“A risk assessment for the winch system holding up the belly plate had identified the risk of failure of the winch bracket, however, it failed to identify the risk of the wire rope snapping,” Griswold said.

“As this was the first time the technician had undertaken this specific task on a Komatsu bulldozer, he ought to have been trained on how to safely perform the task.

“He was provided with no information or instruction, which had disastrous consequences.”

The court found that the implementation of a safe work procedure for bulldozers fitted with the winch system and providing information, instruction and training to workers in the procedure did not involve significant, if any, cost to Komatsu Australia.