Company fined $65K after worker was trapped in limestone block-making machine


Photo: Activedia, Pixabay

A company was fined $65,000 plus costs of $3,120.33 last week when a worker was seriously injured after he was trapped in a limestone block-making machine at the company’s Nowergup manufacturing plant on January 25, 2017.

The worker was removing a large lump of dry limestone aggregate in the block-making machine when the machine started up after its sensor was triggered. The worker suffered serious injuries, including a severed foot, fractures to his spine, pelvis, ribs and left leg and internal organ damage.

An investigation conducted by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) found the safety system designed to prevent workers from entering the machine when power has been circumvented.

DMIRS said the machine should have been equipped with a single safety key which is used to turn on the hydraulic system to operate the machine. The same key opens the guarding used to prevent people from accessing the internal machinery.

If the single-key system is followed, it is impossible to access the internal machinery and still have the hydraulic system powered.

“This incident could easily have been prevented if the company had taken some simple safety steps that were already known to them,” said Mines Safety Director Andrew Chaplyn.

“It is a reminder of the extremely serious consequences when companies do not place safety as their highest priority.”

The court took into account the company’s guilty plea and cooperation with investigators in handing down the penalty.

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