Machine supplier fined after worker loses fingers

 A machine supplier was fined $30,000 after equipment they supplied caused a West Australian woodchipper operator to lose three fingers.

The company was found guilty of failing to ensure the safety of the woodchipping machine and seriously harming a worker. They were fined $30,000 in the Perth Magistrates Court and ordered to pay $12,000 in costs.

The court heard that the company supplied a Peterson Pacific 5000 H mobile chipper to the logging company where the victim was employed. The equipment had no guard on the overspout that held a rotating chipper disk.

The victim was operating the chipper in July 2008 and attempted to clear a blockage from the overspout. He was unaware that the chipper disk at the base of the overspout was still rotating. His hand was struck by a rotating chipper disk, severing his index, middle and ring fingers, and injuring his little finger.

WorkSafe WA Director of Policy and Education, Ian Munns, said the incident should send a message on the importance of guarding machinery as well as the fact that workplace safety is not just the responsibility of employers.

“It is up to the employer to ensure that workers receive instruction and training and observe the safe work practices that are in place, and the employer of the injured man has already been fined over this incident,” said Mr Munns.

“In this case, it would have been better to ensure that the machine was safe to operate in the first place, and that’s where the supplier has to take responsibility.”

“Shortly after this incident, the employer installed a guard on the overspout, unfortunately too late for the worker who sustained serious and permanent injuries to his hand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *