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Businesses fined $35,000 after worker crushes thumb

31-08-2010
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Two businesses have received fines totalling $35,000 after a contractor had his thumb crushed in an unguarded machine.

The two prosecutions at the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court come as WorkSafe Victoria begins a 12-month campaign targeting dangerous machines.

Regional Director, Shane Gillard, said removing guarding from a machine was a recipe for disaster and urged businesses to revisit safety practices around machinery before it was too late.

“Guarding is there to protect workers from being seriously hurt or killed, yet we frequently come across incidents where someone has suffered a serious injury that could easily be prevented,” he said.

Campbellfield manufacturing company, Greg Sewell Forgings faced the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court this week, pleading guilty to failing to provide instruction, training and supervision.

The worker’s thumb was crushed on September 29, 2010 while operating an unguarded operating press after a safety device that stops the machine from working when guarding is removed was taken off.

The court heard the device was removed by co-accused, sub-contractor Leslie Grinter, who was engaged by Greg Sewell Forgings to carry out work and training at the site.

Mr Grinter spent 10 minutes removing the device on the day of the incident then trained the worker to work the press without the guard.

Mr Grinter later told WorkSafe investigators he was aware the press was being used by the worker without the interlocked guard.

WorkSafe’s investigation found the company did not know the interlocked guard had been removed by the sub-contractor, but failed to provide proper supervision, instruction and training.

Greg Sewell Forgings was fined $30,000, without conviction, while Mr Grinter received a $5000 fine after pleading guilty to failure by a self-employed person to ensure people are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. 

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