In another unfortunate and unnecessary workplace incident, a Victorian concrete manufacturer has been convicted and fined $120,000 plus nearly $14,000 in costs. The ruling was handed down to the company, Dandy Premix Concrete Pty Ltd, in the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on May 10, 2021 after being found guilty on April 15.
Dandy Premix Concrete Pty Ltd was charged with breaching the State OHS Act in failing to provide a safe workplace by failing to take reasonably practicable steps to eliminate the risk of powered mobile machines colliding with pedestrians.
Taking place on July 20, 2018, the incident occurred when workers were cleaning up spilled slurry as a truck was loading concrete. Once the truck was full, it pulled out, passing two workers. One of the workers tripped and fell under the truck’s rear wheels and his left arm was run over.
The worker suffered serious injuries, including amputation of his little finger and partial amputation of his ring and middle fingers. He has required multiple surgeries and ongoing rehabilitation.
What went wrong?
The court heard that the company did not have:
A traffic management plan that identified hazards, including collisions between trucks and pedestrians while spilled slurry was being cleaned up.
Risk control measures in place, such as exclusion zones or physical barriers to separate pedestrians from vehicles.
WorkSafe Victoria health and safety executive director Julie Nielsen commented on the incident: “This worker is still living with the consequences of an incident that could have been avoided. It is vital that employers have appropriate traffic management plans and risk control measures in place to keep vehicles and pedestrians at a safe distance.”
How to do it right
According to WorkSafe Victoria, employers using mobile plant should always ensure:
A traffic management plan is in place for pedestrians and powered mobile plant and that it is reviewed and updated as appropriate.
Pedestrians are separated from moving machinery and that an effective communication system between operators, transport contractors and ground staff is in place.
Signage is in place and barriers are erected where appropriate.
Visibility issues are identified and controlled, particularly if lighting is poor.
Workers operating equipment have the appropriate high risk work licences, as required.
Machinery and vehicles are regularly inspected and maintained by a suitably qualified person.
Don’t risk it
The reality of working with people and machinery is that it’s a high risk activity and one that doesn’t take much to have very serious, life-changing consequences. Like the above incident demonstrates, a worker simply slipped and now their life is forever altered. So knowing all this, what can you as a business owner, site manager, safety manager or hire company do? Well, you start by systematically reducing machinery safety risks.
Carrying out regular and thorough risk assessments is a foundation stone of a systematic machinery risk management program, made easy by software such as Plant Assessor. Complacency with machinery safety is never worth the risk to your employees, your business, your reputation, your criminal record or your bank balance.
Check your level of risk TODAY
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Identify safety gaps and risks
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Know where to improve
We urge you to take the test today and get a better understanding of your machinery system’s health before it’s too late.
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If you would like some help with your system diagnosis, machinery risk assessment or any other plant and or 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.