Manufacturer fined after worker’s hand crushed

A plastics manufacturer has been convicted and fined $75,000 and ordered to pay costs of $70,000 after a worker's hand was crushed by unguarded machinery at a Seaford factory in 2016.
News article published

Monday 26 Apr 2021

Industries and topics
  • Manufacturing
  • Plant hazards

Icon Plastics was sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court last Monday after being found guilty on 8 April to one charge of failing to provide or maintain a safe system of work.

The court heard the worker was examining why the injection moulding machine had stopped running. 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.

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," Ms 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 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.