The Managing Director of a Bayswater recycling company has been fined $70,000 over an incident in which a labour hire worker’s arm was amputated at the shoulder.
Salvatore Tomo Mangione, Managing Director of Resource Recovery Solutions Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to failing as a director to provide and maintain a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing serious harm to a labour hire worker and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court yesterday.
The incident occurred in January 2016, when a labour hire worker’s arm was amputated at the shoulder when it was caught in the crush point between a conveyor belt and a roller at the automated recycling plant.
He had been working as a “picker”, a worker whose job it was to manually remove unsuitable items from conveyor belts and to clear blockages or jams in various machines.
A blockage had been cleared and the belts had been restarted when the worker reached in to remove a rock that was dragged into the crush point.
There was no guarding around the crush points of the belt, and there was no lockout tag out procedure followed to isolate the moving parts of the plant when removing blockages.
Mr Mangione had an office at the workplace, and was usually there five days a week. He had the requisite level of control to implement changes at the workplace.
WorkSafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said today the company had a questionable safety history, and the court had found that the injury to the worker occurred due to Mr Mangione’s neglect.
“This company has a long history of flouting workplace safety laws – another worker at the plant was killed in 2013 when an overloaded roof panel collapsed and crushed him,” Mr Kavanagh said.
“WorkSafe inspectors visited the workplace and found that numerous conveyor belts were not guarded. They were reassured that the plant was fully automated and workers were not present when the plant was running.
“Another worker suffered a broken arm in February 2015 when his arm was dragged into a moving conveyor belt which again had no guarding.
“The court found it was practicable for the company to have implemented and enforced a system that combined an interlocking system that restricted access to the belt and a monitoring system to detect blockages of the belt.
“It was also found that workers at the company had not been provided with sufficient information on hazards, formal instruction and training or direct supervision by the supervisor or manager.
“Mr Mangione neglected to implement the changes required to make this workplace safe for workers, and he has been penalised accordingly today.”
Resource Recovery Solutions was found guilty and fined $330,000 in November 2020 for two offences – gross negligence in failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment for a labour hire worker, and non-compliance with an improvement notice issued by WorkSafe.
The company successfully appealed the decision, and in April this year was handed a $230,000 fine in lieu of the previous penalty and instead convicted of failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing serious harm to a labour hire worker.
As Managing Director of the company, Mr Mangione is also guilty of that offence, as it was proved that it occurred as a result of his neglect.