Electroplater fined $300,000 after worker crushed

A metal treatment business has been convicted and fined $300,000 following the death of a worker who became trapped in an electroplating machine at a Delacombe factory.
News article published

Tuesday 28 Sep 2021

Industries and topics
  • Manufacturing
  • Plant hazards

ACE Metal Treatment Services was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court yesterday after pleading guilty to a charge of failing to maintain plant that was safe and without risks to health.

On 29 October 2019, a worker suffered fatal chest injuries when he became trapped between a safety guard and the machine frame.

The court heard that safety guards on the side of machine were designed to shut down the machine if there was an obstruction between them and the frame, however, the safety switches were not working.

A WorkSafe investigation found the company had failed to:

  • Maintain the electroplating machine in a way that was safe and without risks, by having an inoperative emergency stop button and safety switches and not having the machine serviced regularly.
  • Control the risks associated with the machine by preventing access while it was operating.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said there was no excuse for employers who put workers' lives at risk by ignoring their health and safety obligations.

"This death is a tragic reminder that failing to make health and safety the first priority can have fatal consequences," Mr Keen said.

"If you're running a business in Victoria, you have a responsibility to maintain a safe workplace, including regularly servicing machinery and providing appropriate safety instructions and training to workers."

"WorkSafe won't hesitate to take action against employers who fail in their responsibility to do everything reasonably possible to keep workplaces safe."

To manage risks when 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.