SKM Recycling fined $115k following worksite accidents

A maintenance worker was dragged up a conveyor belt in a horrific worksite accident at SKM Recycling’s Laverton North site. Now the embattled recycler has faced court for that and another grisly workplace incident.

Embattled recycling giant SKM Services Pty Ltd has been fined $115,000 and ordered to pay court costs following two horrific accidents at its Laverton North site.

The accidents left two employees with grisly injuries and forced one man off the job for about four months, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard earlier this month.

In one incident a 60-year-old woman fell almost 3 metres from an elevated platform before striking the ground below in 2018 while working on a paper sorting conveyor line.

The woman was rushed to hospital with a serious head injury.

A 68-year-old man was dragged up a conveyor belt and wedged against a steel beam in another incident in 2017 while performing routine maintenance on a piece of equipment.

A staff member heard the seriously injured man’s screams but could not find the emergency stop button so had to call out to another employee for help.

The man suffered multiple hip and pelvis injuries and was unable to work for four months following the accident.

WorkSafe inspectors found the man had forgotten to turn off the machine’s isolation switch, but they also found a number of other problems including inadequate perimeter guards.

They also told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this month there were no emergency stops in the vicinity of the machinery, and their was no fall protection near the ladders where the woman was working in 2018.

Julie Nielsen, WorkSafe’s director of health and safety, said falls from heights and inadequate guards were well-known causes of worksite deaths and injuries.

“These horrific incidents should serve as a warning to all employers that failing to protect workers can have life altering impacts on injured workers and lead to convictions and fines for those responsible,” Ms Nielsen said.

“There are no excuses for working at height without guardrails or other fall prevention measures, or for failing to have adequate guarding and lockout systems in place and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who fail to protect their workers.”

The court fined SKM $100,000 for failing to maintain a safe workplace in relation to the 2017 and 2018 incidents.

It was also fined a further $15,000 on a third charge of failing to provide a safe plant in relation to the 2017 incident and ordered to pay costs of $18,000.

Source: Herald Sun

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