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October 2020

Worker crushed by a 500kg mill trolley

Worker crushed by a 500kg mill trolley

Case

Yarra Valley Snack Foods Pty Ltd (2020)

Yarra Valley Snack Foods Pty Ltd (Yarra Valley) produces a range of packaged foods sold in supermarkets across Australia. In the factory is a 500kg mill trolley that is required to be cleaned.

The cleaning process involved moving the mill trolley to a rinsing bay, as areas of the mill trolley could not be accessed for rinsing when in its operational position. This posed a risk of the mill trolley falling and crushing a worker while being moved.

A worker sustained serious injuries when they were crushed by the mill trolley after a roller wheel became jammed in a floor grate.

Judgment

Yarra Valley pleaded guilty to breaches of sections 23(1) and 23(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) by failing to ensure its employees and other workers on site were not exposed to health or safety risks.

The Court determined that Yarra Valley failed to reduce or eliminate the risk with respect to the need to move the mill trolley. An operating procedure for the cleaning of the mill should have been in place, which could have included installing a platform near the plant so it could be cleaned in its operational position.

Yarra Valley was convicted and ordered to pay a fine of $80,000 plus costs of $3,505.

Lessons

This case highlights the risk of moving of heavy equipment or machinery, and that it should be avoided where possible. If this step is required, safe systems of work must be in place to ensure the risk of injury is reduced or eliminated, particularly where there is a risk of the equipment or machinery toppling over.

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