VIC: manufacturer fined $75,000 after worker’s hand crushed

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.
Monday, 3 May, 2021 - 12:15
Incidents & prosecutions

A plastics manufacturer in Victoria has been convicted and fined $75,000 and ordered to pay costs of $70,000 after a worker’s hand was crushed by unguarded machinery at a Seaford factory in 2016.

Icon Plastics was sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after being found guilty to one charge of failing to provide or maintain a safe system of work.

The court heard the worker was examining why the injection moulding machine had stopped running.

He opened the top guard, restarted the machine and reached in with a pen to separate two plastic discs.

The worker dropped the pen and when he reached in to grab it, his hand was crushed.

The severe injury left the worker unable to drive and off work for six months.

The court heard it was reasonably practicable for the company to have installed interlock guarding that would have prevented access to the danger point while the machine was running.

WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety Julie Nielsen said there were no excuses for failing to properly guard machinery.

“Installing an interlock device is a simple solution that would have prevented this horrible incident,” Nielsen said.

“It’s up to employers to ensure they are doing all they can to keep their workers safe.”