A health and safety fine, which was nearly tripled on appeal, sends a clear message to workplaces about the consequences of needlessly endangering workers, says WorkSafe VIC.
Dandenong company A Bending Company Pty Ltd was originally convicted and fined $25,000 at the Dandenong Magistrates Court. An appeal of the matter by the Director of Public Prosecutions to the County Court resulted in the company’s fine being increased to $70,000, with costs of nearly $3000.
“This sends a clear message to Victorian workplaces about what’s in store for them if they neglect health and safety,” Acting Director for Health and Safety Stan Krpan said.
“The fact that the Director of Public Prosecutions found the original penalty inadequate, and the increase in the fine on appeal, demonstrates the courts’ attitude towards health and safety offences.
“Workplaces take note – if you needlessly endanger the health and safety of your workers, you’re not going to get off lightly,” he said.
The incident occurred in May 2008 at a metal fabrication business in Dandenong, when a 16 year-old worker with no previous experience and minimal training started operating a John Heine press.
The front of the press had a hinged drop-down door, which allowed the product and the operator’s hand to be inserted in the press. There was no interlock system to stop the press operating when the door was open.
The worker placed a piece of pipe into the press with his hand. As he removed his hand, he accidentally pressed the foot pedal, which activated the press.
He suffered a crush injury to his left hand, which required the surgical removal to the first joint of his first, second and third fingers, and injury to his fourth finger.