$40,000 fine after worker's arm caught in shredder

A scrap metal recycler in Tottenham has been fined $40,000 after a contractor's arm was caught in a machine which had the guarding removed.


Manhari International Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Sunshine Magistrates' Court last Friday after pleading guilty to two charges of failing to ensure a workplace under its management or control was safe and without risks to health.

The company was fined without conviction and also ordered to pay costs of $4,132.

In August 2021, a contractor was operating a shredding machine used to separate, compact and cut materials at the company's Tottenham recycling plant, when he noticed one of two conveyor belts was stopping and starting.

As he knelt next to the conveyor, the contractor fell forward, touching the belt with his left hand which was dragged into the machine up to his elbow.

He suffered broken bones and skin loss, requiring multiple surgeries and skin grafts, and is unlikely to ever regain full use of his lower arm and hand.

A WorkSafe investigation found that the factory-supplied side guarding had been removed from the conveyor, and that no guarding was in place, despite the risk of exposed rollers and rotating parts being identified in a risk assessment of the machine when it was installed in May 2020.

The court heard it was reasonably practicable for Manhari International to reduce the risks by not removing the factory-supplied guarding, installing guarding over the running in nip-points on the two conveyor belts, and having a system of work that included a safe work procedure and required workers to ensure guards were fitted.

WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety Narelle Beer said anyone with control or management of a workplace had a duty to ensure that it operated safely – or risk prosecution.

"Safety guarding on plant and machinery is crucial to keeping everyone in the workplace safe and reducing the very real risk of death or serious injury – so it beggars belief that anyone would allow such a machine to operate without this in place," Dr Beer said.

"In this case a worker has suffered a traumatic and life-changing injury that sadly, could and should have been prevented."

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.