Training and guard lack lead to $12,500 fine
BUSSELTON company Hexan Holdings, trading as Whiteland Milling, was fined $12,500 plus costs in the Perth Court of Petty Sessions after pleading guilty to failing to ensure a docking saw was safe and causing serious harm to an employee.
A worker, who was in his first 45 minutes on the job, reached into the operating area of the saw to clear a blockage.
In doing so he accidentally hit the activation switch and this allowed the saw blade to travel out and amputate his thumb and forefinger.
The company had failed to adequately guard the saw.
Manufacturers of machinery are legally required to make sure dangerous parts are safely guarded so operators are under an obligation to leave the guards in place when the machinery is being operated.
These guards should be designed to protect the user but allow access for maintenance and should not be removed unless the machine is isolated from the power source and locked out.
WorkSafe acting executive director Nina Lyhne said the lack of a proper guard was not the only concern.
"We obviously had serious concerns with the fact that the operator was able – in the absence of guarding – to reach into the operating area of the saw but we are also alarmed by the apparent lack of instruction and training given to the operator," she said.
"I find it particularly alarming that a worker can sustain such a serious injury within 45 minutes of beginning a new job and I urge everyone in workplaces to ensure machinery is adequately guarded and proper training and induction is given to all employees."
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