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January 2020

Worker suffers serious facial injuries from angle grinder kickback

Worker suffers serious facial injuries from angle grinder kickback

WorkSafe Victoria v Bonaccord Ingram Co Pty Ltd (2019)

Facts

Bonaccord Ingram Co Pty Ltd (the Company) operated a vegetable production and logistics company in Victoria. As part of maintenance work at one of the Company’s sites, workers were required to operate angle grinders, which carried a high risk of serious injury due to the possibility of the grinders kicking back and striking the operator.

Consequently, in December 2017, a worker suffered a serious laceration and a broken jaw when an angle grinder he was operating kicked back into his face.

Judgment

The Company pleaded guilty and the Bairnsdale Magistrate’s Court imposed a fine of $20,000 and costs of $3,620. However, the Company was not convicted.

Lessons

Employers must be vigilant in ensuring they appropriately prepare for, and provide, a safe system of work for workers to follow. Where a high-risk activity has been identified, you should take all possible steps to eliminate or minimise the risk to the health and safety of a worker. In this respect, the employer failed to take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of serious injury to the operator of an angle grinder, which was a known risk.

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