SA: Unsafe Plant Costs Baker Her Livelihood

The absence of a simple interlock device in a plant has cost the livelihood of an experienced baker, the SA Industrial Court was told.

A baking company pleaded guilty to breaching section 19(1) of the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986, having failed to provide plant in a safe condition and failed to provide and maintain safe systems of work.

It was fined $4,500 by the court on September 22.

In November 2007, an employee was cleaning a dough-proofing equipment at a Torrensville site when her arm became entangled with its moving parts.

The court heard the shoulder injuries sustained by the woman were so severe that “she can no longer function effectively as a baker”.

SafeWork SA told the court that a simple interlock device would have powered down the machine while the worker was cleaning its inner parts.

According to the safety watchdog, the incident could be traced back to the lack of a risk assessment after a perspex panel was put in.

“Our experience has shown that any modification to machinery in a workplace can bring with it any number of potential new safety issues,” says Executive Director, Michele Patterson.

“Any time a machine is altered, it should be subject to a fresh safety analysis as if it was brand new.”

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