Timberwood Panels Pty Ltd and director Iain Agyeman pleaded guilty in the Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court on Monday to two charges each of failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work and failing to provide information and instruction.
They were fined $35,000 and $25,000 respectively and ordered to pay costs of $3640.
The court heard that in June 2019 a worker was crushed by a robotic hoist used to lift and stack timber panels while attempting to clear a malfunction. The worker suffered serious back and leg injuries and remains on restricted duties.
WorkSafe inspectors found interlocks on gates in the area around the hoist had been bypassed, allowing access points to be opened without shutting machines off. Guarding had also been removed, allowing access to other danger areas.
The system of work was unsafe, the training about risk identification was inadequate and safety procedures were ignored, the court heard.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said such a careless approach to safety would not be tolerated.
"To remove guarding and deactivate interlock systems shows a blatant disregard for safety and sadly this worker is continuing to live with the consequences," she said.
"WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who fail to ensure the safety of their workers is always their first priority."
To manage risks associated with working with machinery employers should:
- 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.
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