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January 2020

Employee injures hand in machine that lacked adequate guarding

Employee injures hand in machine that lacked adequate guarding

Worksafe Victoria v Kingspan Environmental Pty Ltd (2017)

Facts

Kingspan Environmental Pty Ltd (the Company) manufactures steel water tanks and garden beds. In October 2015, a labour hire employee was operating a curving machine used to manufacture the steel products. The machinery had pull wire switches on either side but no guarding to prevent access to the nip points of the machine. The employee’s hand was caught in the in-running nip point while he was feeding sheet metal into the curving machine. This caused the employee serious hand injuries.

Judgment

The Company pleaded guilty. The Magistrate found there to be an obvious risk of serious injury to employees using the curve machine as there was no adequate guarding. The offender was not convicted, however it was sentenced to pay a fine of $25,000 and costs of $3,500.

Lessons

This case is a clear example of the need for businesses to undertake risk assessments of all machines they supply for use to their workers. Employers are responsible for eliminating risks in the workplace and the risk of serious injury caused by a lack of guarding is an obvious risk that can be readily fixed.

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