A Campbellfield cardboard box manufacturer has been convicted and fined $55,000 after two workers’ hands were crushed in a new paper mill roller.
Lakeside Packaging Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday to one charge of failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.
The court heard that in March 2016 an experienced paper maker, who was not an employee of the company, was helping test the new paper mill when his left glove was caught in a nip point between two moving rollers.
The 48-year-old’s hand was pulled into the roller, crushing his fingers and causing serious injuries that required surgery.
It followed an incident just two hours earlier, when a 28-year-old employee was using the paper mill and his hand was crushed after being caught in the same nip point. He was also taken to hospital for surgery.
A WorkSafe investigation found plans were prepared for installing a physical barrier to guard the perimeter of the paper mill area before the incidents but were never completed.
The court heard that the company should have known of the entrapment risks, both before the mill was tested and after the first crush incident.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said there was no excuse for exposing workers to dangerous machines that can cause lifelong and traumatic injuries.
“Failing to install proper guarding before using moving machinery is simply unacceptable and can have horrific consequences,” Ms Nielsen said.
“No worker should be left permanently impaired or maimed because an employer fails to address serious health and safety risks.
‘The dangers of exposing workers to entrapment or crush injuries when working with moving machinery are well known and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who ignore them.”
To prevent entrapment employers should:
- Fit gates or guards to machinery to prevent access to in-running nip points and other moving parts.
- Where required, fit interlock devices to prevent machines from starting if an access point is open, or to stop them if an access point is opened while running.
- Train staff in the safe operation of machines and equipment and provide written procedures in the worker’s first language.
- Place signs on or near a machine to alert employees to the dangers of operating it.
- Consider whether hair, clothing, gloves, neckties, jewellery, cleaning brushes, or other materials can become entangled.
- Regularly service and inspect machines and equipment.