VIC: companies fined $50,000 following arm injury

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.
Thursday, 29 September, 2022 - 12:00
Incidents & prosecutions

Two companies in Victoria have been fined a total of $50,000 after a worker’s arm became caught in a machine at a brick manufacturing site in Thomastown in 2018.

Brick manufacturing company, PGH Bricks & Pavers, was sentenced in the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court after earlier pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to provide plant that was, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.

The company was convicted and fined $40,000.

Bricks Australia Services, which employs staff that worked at the PGH facility, earlier pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing to provide necessary information or instructions to enable its employers to perform their work safely.

It was fined $10,000 without conviction and ordered to pay costs of $3,140.

The court heard a worker was inspecting a possible problem with a head drum that powered a conveyor belt used to transport clay when his right arm became trapped between the belt and the drum.

Another worker heard the man’s cry for help and activated the emergency stop button.

The worker suffered a dislocated elbow, nerve crushing and damage from his bicep to his fingers.

The court heard it was reasonably practicable for PGH to affix guarding to the head drum and for BAS to ensure that workers received necessary information and instruction in relation to the risk posed by the plant.

The risks associated with conveyors were well known and include entanglement and crushing of body parts, said WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety Narelle Beer.

“Tragically, this worker’s life-altering injuries could have been avoided if appropriate safety measures were put in place,” Beer said.

“There is no excuse for duty holders who fail to implement guarding around known danger areas, or who fail to provide their staff with the training they need to perform tasks safely.”