SafeWork Queensland v MCG Quarries (2021)
MCG Quarries operated a quarry and processed rocks through a crushing plant. The plant had several conveyors to move product through the processing. A 21-year-old man got his arm stuck in the nip point of the conveyor belt, which pulled him into the conveyor structure, causing him to suffer fatal injuries. The incident occurred due to the protective guarding at the nip point of the conveyor being removed during the crushing plant operations.
The Court heard that there was a culture of complacency and inadequate attention to safety within the workplace. MCG Quarries failed to eliminate the risk when controls were readily available. The failure resulted in the fatal incident, which could have been prevented.
MCG Quarries pleaded guilty to breaching section 31 of the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999. MCG Quarries, the senior executive and the supervisor were sentenced to pay a fine each, amounting to $235,000 in total.
Guarding of plant and equipment is a known and foreseeable risk of injury. There is no basis for any organisation not to actively ensure all nip points are properly guarded.