Cosmax NBT Australia, a health supplements manufacturing based in Dandenong South, Victoria, has been fined $40,000 for failing to provide a working environment that was safe and without risks to health, and for not providing adequate guarding around moving machine parts. The company pleaded guilty in the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court and was ordered to pay $1875 in costs, after a worker’s hand was crushed between two rollers.
The incident occurred in September 2018, when a labour hire employee was feeding gel sheets through a machine to press pill capsules. The worker’s left hand was caught and dragged into a series of rollers, and he was taken to hospital with serious laceration and crush injuries to his left hand. The court heard that the company had six encapsulation machines, with no guarding around running rollers that could prevent entanglement injuries.
“Injuries to workers entangled or crushed in machines can be devastating, and this horrific incident would have been prevented had the company put guarding in place to deal with an obvious hazard. Employers must ensure they assess all the risks in their workplace and do everything reasonably practicable to protect their workers, or WorkSafe will take enforcement action,” said Julie Nielsen, WorkSafe Victoria’s Executive Director of Health and Safety.
To reduce risks, employers should identify hazards, assess the associated risks, and eliminate them by isolating them or using an alternative. Staff should also receive training about the safe operation of machines and equipment, with written procedures in the worker’s first language. Employees and health and safety representatives should also be consulted before the development and implementation of safe operating procedures. Employers should ensure that compliant safety guards and grates are fixed to machines at all times, with machines inspected and serviced regularly. Signs should also be placed on or near machines, to inform employees of the dangers of operating them.
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