Tyre recycling company fined $80K over young worker’s injuries

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Photo: Mdesigns, Pixabay

A company has been fined $80,000 after a young worker was injured when his arm was dragged into a conveyer belt and crushed.

The operator of a tyre recycling facility pleaded guilty in the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court last Thursday for breaching occupational safety laws of failing to provide a working environment that was, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health.

The 18-year-old man was working on a tyre shredding machine at the Dandenong factory for less than a week in August 2018, when the incident happened. He suffered serious damage to his right hand and forearm and spent more than three months in a hospital. He also had to undergo reconstructive surgeries.

He still requires ongoing medical treatment and it is estimated he will recover at best 30 percent movement in his arm.

The court heard that the company failed to provide fixed guarding or a permanent physical barrier posing a serious injury risk to workers from an exposed conveyor belt and rollers at the rear of the tyre shredder. The company also failed to provide training and supervision to ensure workers did not approach the exposed danger areas while the machine was running.

The company has since installed a combination of guarding and perimeter fencing on the tyre shredder.

They were fined $80,000 and ordered to pay costs of $4,217.

“This worker has been left with permanent injuries that could have been avoided it appropriate guarding or training had been in place,” said WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen.

“This worker has been left with permanent injuries that could have been avoided if appropriate guarding or training had been in place.

“This incident will also have life-long impact on his young family and is a tragic reminder of why employers must ensure the safety of their workers is always their first priority.”

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