Company fronts court after worker suffers fatal injuries

A worker fractured his skull, lost about two litres of blood, went into cardiac arrest and died during a horrific workplace accident in Dandenong South

Elastomers Pty Ltd, a company that makes rubber compounds and sheets has been fined $450,000 after a worker suffered fatal injuries when he was hit by part of a machine .

The company pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to provide a safe working environment and appeared for sentencing in the County Court on Friday.

Court documents stated a 47-year-old worker who had entered the danger zone mostly likely to clear jammed rubber products on May 26, 2021 was fatally injured when a co-worker restarted the machine.

The co-worker was working on the upper level and didn’t realise his colleague was in the danger zone.

“I hasten to add that the second worker had not been instructed to check that he had left the danger zone before the machine was restarted. The system of work did not require that this crucial step be taken,” Judge Peter Rozen said.

The injured worker suffered a major open skull fracture to both sides of his head, lost about two litres of blood and went into cardiac arrest. Despite the efforts of paramedics, the father of three adult children died at the scene.

In June 2021, expert mechanical engineers were brought in as part of a WorkSafe investigation and the appropriate safety procedures have since been put in place to ensure no repeat of the incident.

Judge Rozen said guarding of the dangerous parts of the machinery was important in terms of risk control and that workers could sometimes become oblivious to the dangers in a high-risk industry as the one Elastomers traded in.

In his victim impact statement, the son of the dead worker said his family’s lives have been changed forever.

He described his father as a “remarkable” person who had a strong bond with his family and whose death has left a hole in their lives.

Judge Rozen said nothing the court did or whatever fine Elastomers paid would bring the employee back.

He said rather than wait until they received complaints about safety issues, employers must be proactive and seek input from workforce and management guided by experts to put in place appropriate health and safety measures.

“While the charge relates to a single date, it is clear that the risks were present for a considerable period prior to May 2021.”

He took into account the company’s plea of guilty, a lack of previous conviction and it being of otherwise good corporate character in fixing the appropriate fine.

Source: Herald Sun

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