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VIC: $60,000 in fines after worker trapped under hoist

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of members. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Monday, 5 April, 2021 - 12:15
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Victoria

A Campbellfield manufacturer in Victoria and its director have been convicted and fined a combined $60,000 after a worker was injured by a robotic hoist in 2019.

Timberwood Panels Pty Ltd and director Iain Agyeman pleaded guilty in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court to two charges each of failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work and failing to provide information and instruction.

They were fined $35,000 and $25,000 respectively and ordered to pay costs of $3640.

The court heard that in June 2019 a worker was crushed by a robotic hoist used to lift and stack timber panels while attempting to clear a malfunction.

The worker suffered serious back and leg injuries and remains on restricted duties.

WorkSafe Victoria inspectors found interlocks on gates in the area around the hoist had been bypassed, allowing access points to be opened without shutting machines off.

Guarding had also been removed, allowing access to other danger areas.

The system of work was unsafe, the training about risk identification was inadequate and safety procedures were ignored, the court heard.

Such a careless approach to safety would not be tolerated, said WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety Julie Nielsen.

“To remove guarding and deactivate interlock systems shows a blatant disregard for safety and sadly this worker is continuing to live with the consequences,” she said.

“WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who fail to ensure the safety of their workers is always their first priority.”