Occupational Health and Safety:Tubing Manufacturer Fined $28k For Crushed Thumb
A manufacturing company responsible for the tubing and electrical components in South Australia, was fined $28,000 in addition to legal fees. The company was found responsible for an incident with a crimping machine that crushed an employees thumb because of a lack of guard.
SafeWork SA charged Tubing and Electrical Industries under the Occupational Health, Safety, and Welfare Act 1986 for failing to provide and maintain safe working conditions– especially by failing to provide a guard fitting for the machine.
On 25 July 2011, an employee was operating a machine inwhich the guard had been removed in order to provide better visual access.
The top of the worker’s thumb became lodged in between the jaws. The injury caused long-term nerve loss which also required hand therapy for nine months which subsequently prevented him from being able to attain full-time work.
Magistrate Michael Ardlie explained his decision, saying “The bypassing of the guarding is a significantly serious transgression on the part of the defendant.”
Ardlie recognised the company took appropriate action following the incident by securing a guard and implementing a Standard Operating Procedure for the machine in question.
The defendant faced a maximum penalty of $300,000. The court imposed a fine of $40,000, with a 30 per cent reduction to $28,000 following the defendant’s early guilty plea, demonstration of contrition and cooperation with SafeWork SA.
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