Recycling company fined $70k after worker’s hand amputated


Recycling company fined $70k after worker’s hand amputated

Matt Turner | Managing Director


In another preventable incident, a recycling company was fined $70,000 after a worker’s hand was amputated while using machinery that did not have a guard in place.

The incident, which occurred in October 2014, happened when a 36 year old worker was using a baler to crush aluminium recycling into a cube. While strapping bales of crushed aluminium near the machine, his hand was caught in the baler and amputated.

Following an investigation by WorkSafe Victoria, it was found that the company did not take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of workers. Specifically, it was discovered that a guard was not fitted to the machine to prevent access to the bale exit point.

Commenting on the incident, WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety, Andrew Keen said, “Sadly, as a result of this incident, a worker has suffered severe injury with lifelong consequences. There is no excuse for employers who risk workers’ safety by ignoring their health and safety obligations.”

Following the investigation, the recycling company was convicted and fined $70,000. Keen stressed that WorkSafe would not hesitate to bring prosecutions against companies that fail to comply with legislation, and fail to provide a safe workplace for their workers.

He further urged businesses to do everything possible to protect workers from the risk of serious injury or death.

A thorough risk assessment using Plant Assessor would have highlighted the hazards associated with this piece of machinery, raised the catastrophic risk, and advised necessary controls required to rectify it.

Time to assess your safety systems

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 download, and simple to complete.

Download now


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

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.

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