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Recycler fined $70,000 after worker’s hand amputated

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.
Date: 
Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 - 12:30
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Victoria

A recycling business has been fined $70,000 after a worker’s hand was amputated at a factory in Coolaroo, Victoria.

SKM Services was convicted on a charge of failing, as far as was reasonably practicable, to provide a safe workplace and sentenced in Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court.

On 24 October 2014, a 36-year-old worker’s right hand was amputated in a baler used to crush aluminium recycling into a cube.

The court heard the worker was injured while strapping bales of crushed aluminium near the machine.

A WorkSafe Victoria investigation found the company had failed to reduce risks to workers’ safety by not having a guard fitted to the machine to prevent access to the bale exit point.

WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety Andrew Keen said WorkSafe would not hesitate to prosecute businesses that disregard their responsibility to provide a safe workplace.

“Businesses must do everything reasonably possible to keep workplaces safe and protect workers from the risk of serious injury or death,” Keen said.

“Sadly, as a result of this incident, a worker has suffered a severe injury with lifelong consequences.”

“There is no excuse for employers who risk workers’ safety by ignoring their health and safety obligations.”