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                        2 min read

                        $275,000 fine for pipe manufacturer after worker crushed to death

                        radial-press

                        In 2018, a worker of a pipe manufacturing company was crushed to death in a red radial press during a manual cleaning process. After an investigation by WorkSafe Victoria, the company pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to maintain safe systems of work, and was fined $275,000.

                        The incident

                        One of the pieces of pipe manufacturing equipment – the red radial press – did not have self-cleaning functionality, and required manual cleaning. This was completed by workers hammering hardened concrete residue from rollers beneath a conveyor that fed concrete into the machine.

                        A 25 year old worker, while completing this manual cleaning process, made contact with the rollers, which caused him to be dragged into the equipment, and he was tragically crushed to death by the conveyor.

                        WorkSafe Victoria, during their investigation, noted that there was no procedure in place for cleaning the conveyor rollers. They also identified other measures that could have reasonably been implemented to reduce the risks – including self-cleaning rollers, preventing employees from bypassing safety measures, and ensuring safe access to the underside of the conveyor belt.

                        Commenting on the incident and investigation, WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said, “Employers must ensure they assess all the risks in their workplace and do everything reasonably practicable to protect their workers or WorkSafe will take enforcement action,” Dr Beer said.

                        “In this tragic case, there were simple steps the employer could have taken to reduce the health and safety risk to their workers and ultimately prevent a senseless loss of life.”

                        After pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work, the company was fined $275,000.

                         

                        A tragic reminder

                        Unfortunately, this incident could have been avoided if the risk associated with the machinery were adequately assessed and managed.

                        To manage risks employers should:

                        • Identify hazards, assess the risks associated with them and eliminate or control those risks by isolating them or using an alternative.

                        • Train staff in the safe operation of machines and equipment and provide written procedures in the worker’s first language.

                        • Develop and implement safe operating procedures in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives.

                        • Ensure safety guards and gates are compliant and fixed to machines at all times.

                        • Regularly service and inspect machines and equipment.

                        • Place signs on or near a machine to alert employees of the dangers of operating it.

                         

                        Are your safety systems up to scratch?

                        Sadly, had relevant steps been taken, this tragic incident could have been prevented. It serves as a stark reminder to ensure that safety and compliance processes are scrutinised, gaps identified, and improvements put in place.

                        To help, we’ve developed a step-by-step machinery safety systems health check that walks you through  each area of your safety systems and shows you how to improve.

                        It’s completely free to do, and simple to complete.

                         Machinery Safety System Health Check

                         

                        Here to help

                        To speak with a member of the Plant Assessor team on how we can help you manage your machinery safety and compliance processes, call 1300 728 852 or email info@assessor.com.au

                         

                        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.