Geelong company fined over crush incident

Source: WorkSafe Vic

WorkSafe Victoria's campaign against dangerous machines continues with an East Geelong company fined $55,000 today after a worker was dragged hip-deep into a machine causing serious pelvic and ankle injuries.

Huyck Wangner Australia Pty Ltd, which makes felt for conveyer belts, pleaded guilty at the Geelong Magistrates' Court yesterday to one charge of failing to provide a safe workplace under section 23(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The worker had been contracted by Skilled Group Ltd to work at the company's East Geelong site as a machine operator before the incident in April last year.

The court heard the man was dragged feet-first into a roller on a loom while trying to remove loose yarn from fabric. His pelvis was fractured in two places and his ankle was injured.

In the past four years, the courts have fined employers almost $2 million as a result of WorkSafe prosecutions relating to unguarded and unsafe machines.

WorkSafe's Regional Director, Adam Rogers, said proper guarding was cheap and effective.

"We continue to see workers being hurt by common types of machines, and often the hazards and solutions are well known," he said.

"It's essential employers get on the front foot by taking a preventative approach to identifying and controlling the risk of dangerous machines at their workplace."

WorkSafe's investigation found there was no hazard identification such as a job safety analysis for operating the loom, inspecting fabric or removing loose yarn.

WorkSafe also found there was no interlock switch which would have prevented the machine from operating if someone was inside it.

Labour hire company, Skilled Group Ltd, also faces one charge in relation to the matter. They have pleaded guilty to the charges and are expected to appear in court on 26 November.