Icon Plastics fined, convicted after Seaford worker hurt

A Seaford factory worker’s hand was crushed when he reached for a pen he dropped into a piece of heavy machinery, a court has heard.

Leading Australian plastic manufacturer Icon Plastics was convicted, fined $75,000 and ordered to pay costs of $70,000 in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court following the horrific incident in 2016. The court heard the worker was investigating why an injection moulding machine had stopped working when he opened the top guard, restarted the machine and reached in with a pen to separate two plastic discs.

“The worker dropped the pen and when he reached in to grab it, his hand was crushed,” a WorkSafe spokesman said. “The severe injury left the worker unable to drive and off work for six months.”

The court heard it was reasonably practicable for the company to have installed interlock guarding that would have prevented access to the danger point while the machine was running. WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said there were no excuses for failing to properly guard machinery.

“Installing an interlock device is a simple solution that would have prevented this horrible incident,” WorkSafe director of health and safety executive director Julie Nielsen said. “It’s up to employers to ensure they are doing all they can to keep their workers safe.”

To manage risks associated with working with machinery, WorkSafe advises:

  • Identify hazards, assess the risks associated with them and eliminate or control those risks by isolating them or using an alternative.
  • Train staff in the safe operation of machines and equipment and provide written procedures in the worker’s first language.
  • Develop and implement safe operating procedures in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives.
  • Ensure safety guards and gates are compliant and fixed to machines at all times.
  • Regularly service and inspect machines and equipment.
  • Place signs on or near a machine to alert employees of the dangers of operating it.

Source: Herald Sun

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