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                        2 min read

                        A crushed arm, a conviction and $30,000 in fines

                        judge hitting gavel

                        In yet another completely avoidable machinery incident, a hydroponic tomato farm in Victoria has been convicted and fined $30,000 after a worker’s arm was crushed in unguarded machinery. 

                        The incident, which occurred in January 2019, involved a worker operating a powered leaf mat washer whose arm was caught in an unguarded winding mechanism. The accident caused serious crush injuries and nerve damage to the worker’s arm.

                        The company, Tatura Fresh Pty Ltd was sentenced on August 28, 2020 in the Shepparton Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to failing to provide or maintain a working environment that was safe and without risks to health. Tatura Fresh was ordered to pay $3,623 in additional costs as well.

                        For more information on this incident, please visit WorkSafe.

                         

                        What went wrong?

                        The court heard that the company had:

                        • Imported the washer from overseas without ensuring it met Australian Standards

                        • Failed to ensure there was guarding around dangerous, powered areas and that there was a documented system of work for operating the machine

                        • No safety switch on the machine, and the emergency stop control was not operational.

                         

                        How to do it right

                        Tatura Fresh had duties under Victorian legislation, both as the importer of the equipment and the user of that equipment to:

                        1. Follow the risk assessment process: including identifying hazards (regulation 97) and control risks (regulation 98)

                        2. Meet specific obligations around:

                        • Guarding (regulation 99)

                        • Operator controls (regulation 101)

                        • Emergency stop devices (regulation 102)

                         

                        Don’t run the risk

                        From experience, we know that using Plant Assessor’s range of solutions would have identified all of the deficiencies above and prevented this incident.

                        If implementing anything mentioned above seems daunting, time consuming or just too damn difficult, please let us help. It is honestly not worth the risk to employees or employers alike, especially when prevention is now so easy.

                        Machinery risk assessments can be conducted quickly with a hierarchy of controls to manage the identified risks supplied in an easy-to-follow manner. Additionally, our team of friendly, knowledge staff are always happy to provide you with as much guidance or extra assistance as you need.

                         

                        Are your safety management systems up to the task? Take the test and find out!

                        Since 2004, Plant Assessor has been helping people take control of their safety systems relating to plant and machinery.

                        We have an easy to use self-diagnostic tool, Machinery Safety System Health Check, designed to help people who use plant and machinery understand how solid their safety systems are. 

                        We urge you to take the test and get a better understanding of your system’s health before it’s too late.

                         

                        Be certain, not sorry

                        At Plant Assessor, we are committed to helping people get machinery safety right. If you would like some help with your system diagnosis or any other plant and machinery safety concerns, contact us, and our team of experts will be in touch to help.

                         

                        Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.