Media releases

Ricegrowers Ltd fined $260,000 following maintenance worker’s death

24 April 2018

Agricultural processor Ricegrowers Ltd has been convicted and fined $260,000 following the death of a maintenance worker at a stock feed plant in Tongala.

Ricegrowers pleaded guilty to one count of failing to provide or maintain plant that was, so far as reasonably practical, without risks to health and safety.

The Melbourne County Court heard the 53-year-old man was performing maintenance on the inside of a surge bin at the time of the incident in September, 2014.

He died when the wooden plank he was standing on snapped, causing him to fall onto a sensor-activated screw conveyor at the bottom of the bin.

The court heard there was no emergency stop button within reach of the surge bin’s access plate that would have allowed an observer to stop the screw conveyor in the event it started operating during maintenance.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director Health and Safety Paul Fowler said employers must ensure protective devices such as override buttons and guards are in place to prevent workers being caught in moving plant during maintenance work.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for workers to be exposed to horrific injuries or death because of improperly maintained or unsafe plant,” he said.

“These types of incidents have tragic consequences for workers, their families and friends, and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who fail to protect people from unsafe plant.”

Safety measures to prevent injuries from operating plant include:

  • Ensuring emergency stop buttons are in within reach of observers
  • Using isolation procedures such as lockout devices when clearing blockages or servicing and maintaining machinery and equipment
  • Ensuring guards are in the correct place during and after any repair or maintenance
  • Installing fitted guards, fences, barriers or interlocked gates so moving parts cannot be touched and workers cannot be struck by ejected items
  • Ensuring pre-operation checks are carried out on interlocking and emergency systems.


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49-year-old man faces serious fraud charges

20 April 2018

WorkSafe has charged a Roxburgh Park man with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by allegedly receiving more than $700,000 in unlawful workers compensation payments.

Entries open for the 30th annual WorkSafe Awards

20 April 2018

The role that all Victorians can play in making workplaces safer will be highlighted at the 2018 WorkSafe Awards.

Worker dies after being struck by tractor attachment

6 April 2018

A man in his 20s has died after being struck by a tractor attachment at a property at Carwarp, near Mildura.

Man dies in farm truck rollover near Warragul

29 March 2018

A worker in his early 30s has died after the fertiliser spreader truck he was driving rolled on a steep hill north-east of Warragul yesterday afternoon.

Don’t chance it with musculoskeletal injuries, WorkSafe warns

29 March 2018

Builders and contractors are being urged to do more to prevent musculoskeletal injuries, the most common type of injury to construction workers.

Company fined $380,000 after Mt Waverley pit collapse

23 March 2018

A structural engineering firm which drew up the plans for excavation works at a Mt Waverley construction site has been convicted and fined $380,000 after the pit collapsed, leaving homes teetering on the edge of a 10 metre drop.

Company fined $42,000 for failing to guard machinery

23 March 2018

A Hoppers Crossing cardboard carton manufacturer has been fined $42,000 for failing to properly guard four separate pieces of machinery.

Second worker dies following Delacombe trench collapse

22 March 2018

A second worker who was trapped in a trench collapse at a subdivision site at Delacombe, near Ballarat, has died in hospital.

One dead, one injured in trench collapse near Ballarat

22 March 2018

A man in his 30s has died and a second worker in his 20s has been seriously injured after a trench collapsed at a subdivision site at Delacombe, near Ballarat, yesterday.

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