Occupational Health and Safety:Man Killed While Working at an Almond Farm

Occupational health and safetyA Robinvale man  was killed during an occupational health and safety accident at Wemen almond farm this week. The man is believed to have been killed after becoming caught beneath a slasher at the Annuello Wemen road farm.

However, WorkSafe Victoria later revealed the man was operating a tractor which they believe ran him over when he climbed down from the vehicle.

A spokeswoman said WorkSafe  will be conducting an investigation into the workplace death.

Ambulance Victoria media spokesman John Mullen said paramedics were called at 8.26am, but the man had already succumbed to his injuries when they arrived.

Olam Australia executive director Bob Dall’Alba said the company was shocked and saddened at the man’s death.

“Above all else, our thoughts and condolences are with the man’s family, friends and colleagues at this very difficult time,” Mr Dall’Alba said.

“We are doing everything we can to determine the cause of this tragic accident.”

Mr Dall’Alba said the company closed the farm down immediately after the incident, and will be offering counselling and pastoral care the the man’s family,colleagues and staff.

“I want to assure you of our company’s commitment to safety and providing a safe environment for all of our employees,” he said.

“The Annuello farm will remain closed until consultation with all stakeholders is complete.”

The incident is Victoria’s third workplace death in eight days, following the deaths of a carpenter and an electrician earlier in the week.

Source: http://www.sunraysiadaily.com.au/story/1739473/man-killed-while-working-on-almond-farm/?cs=1259

Company Faces $100K Fine for Breaching Occupational Health and Safety Act

A project management company has been fined $100,000 after a dogman lost half a leg during an accident at the Port Kembla steelworks.

David Wormleaton’s right leg was amputated below the knee after the March 2009 incident, which occurred during work to dismantle a large sinter cooling system being trialled at the BlueScope Steel site.

Transfield Services Engineering Group (TSEG) was subcontracted to carry out the dismantling work.

Workers were removing pieces of the cooling system when a large fabricated steel frame weighing 1.7 tonnes and measuring 2.3 metres high and 8.1 metres long toppled onto Mr Wormleaton, causing serious crush injuries.

He was unaware that nuts securing the structure to concrete had been loosened and removed by other workers before it was to be secured by chains to a crane.

WorkCover launched an investigation into the incident, which led to proceedings in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission in April.

TSEG pleaded guilty to a breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and was fined $100,000.

The court found TSEG had failed to put in place adequate safety processes to prevent the frame from being unbolted before it had been attached by chains to the crane.

Last year, building firm Thomas and Coffey pleaded guilty to two charges and was fined $270,000 over the incident.

Thomas and Coffey was a subcontractor on the project which in turn contracted Allstate Cranes and Plant Hire, for whom Mr Wormleaton worked.

WorkCover NSW’s General Manager of Work Health and Safety Division John Watson said safety for workers must be the highest priority for all employers, especially those working in manufacturing or with heavy machinery.

“Working with such heavy machinery or large products can be very dangerous, which is why every safety precaution must be taken,” he said.

Mr Watson said WorkCover would work with TSEG to ensure no similar incidents occurred in the future.

During court proceedings, a company representative expressed remorse and regret over the incident and said arrangements had been made for a safety and fund-raising program to assist Mr Wormleaton.

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Source: http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/1562969/firm-fined-after-man-loses-leg-in-accident/?cs=12

 

NSW Man Critical Condition After Forklift Traps Him in Freezer

A NSW man is in a critical condition in hospital after being trapped by a forklift inside a commercial freezer thought to be set at minus 19 degrees Celsius.

The man was trapped in the freezer at a business in Matraville, in Sydney’s east, for at least half an hour on Saturday.

He was operating a forklift alone at the time of the accident.

It is thought the machine tipped over against a set of shelves, trapping the man.

He was found by colleagues, who called police rescue and paramedics to the scene around 3.00pm AEST.

The man was freed and taken to St George Hospital in a critical condition.

Police say WorkCover has been informed, and an investigation will take now place.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-27/forklift-traps-man-inside-commercial-freezer/4655408

OHS:Perth Company Fined for Grinder Death

A Perth based powder coating company has been fined $85,000 over the death of a worker who was killed when a drum he was cutting with an angle grinder exploded.

Welshpool-based Diamond Powder Coaters this week pleaded guilty in Perth Magistrates Court to failing to provide a safe workplace and causing the death of the worker as a result of that failure.

The incident occurred in November 2010, when the worker used an angle grinder to cut into a metal drum that had previously contained methylated spirits.

A spark from the angle grinder ignited the residue or fumes in the drum, causing an explosion so large it blew part of the drum 20 metres over a fence into a neighbouring property, and inflicted fatal head injuries to the worker.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said serious incidents involving the cutting of drums was something he heard about far too often.

“Angle grinders, oxy torches or any other heat-producing equipment should not be used to cut metal drums that have contained flammable or combustible liquids or gases, or when there is any doubt about the previous contents of the drum,” Mr McCulloch said.

“The rule of thumb is that if you don’t know what has been in the drum or tank, assume it has contained an explosive substance and have it recycled by a specialist cleaning company.

“This is neither an expensive nor inconvenient process, and it could well save someone’s life.”

Earlier this week, a Bunbury man was seriously injured when a fuel tank he was cutting with an oxy torch exploded.

A worker in Welshpool died last year doing the same thing.

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Source: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/business-fined-over-angle-grinder-death/story-fnhocxo3-1226624683812

OHS:Spinal Injury Results in 60k Fine

A woman who suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs and serious spinal injuries  almost three years ago, has seen her employers fined approximately $70,000 for the inability to protect her.

National Fleet Administrative Services pleaded guilty for failing to provide and ensure a safe work environment.

The company contracts drivers who transport goods. According to WorkSafe, In 2009, a driver was sent to a customers residence to move two large industrial ovens.  The driver told the woman, an employee of NFAS, to lift the oven off the factory floor with the help of a device known as a “walkie stacker”. However, the truck did not have “roll stop devices fitted” and the stacker rolled backwards and fell off the end of the truck effectively pinning the woman to the ground.

It was revealed that the driver had not received any training on how to use roll stop devices or how to properly use the tail lift on his truck.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch called the driver’s  lack of training  “a recipe for disaster,” in a statement on Monday.

“The customer’s employee needlessly suffered serious injuries as a result,” he said.

“The case should serve as a reminder to employers of the importance of training workers in all aspects of operating machinery and having safe systems of work in place at all times, especially when handling heavy items.”

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Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/company-fined-60k-for-spinal-injuries-20130225-2f1re.html#ixzz2MPdYbua9

OHS: Worker Struck by Ute At Mowbray

A road worker died after being struck by a utility vehicle  in the Launceston suburb of Mowbray.

The 62-year old man from Ravenswood, was holding a stop-go traffic control sign when he was struck and thrown back approximately 15m.

He was rushed by ambulance to the Launceston General Hospital but succumbed to critical to both internal and external injuries and later died.

Tasmania Police Sergeant Nicholas Clark stated that the middle-aged driver of the Nissan flat tray vehicle was not injured but will undergo standard drug and alcohol tests at the LGH.

The accident which occurred on a suburban stretch of Vermont Rd at Mowbray, was witnessed by several coworkers who had been resealing the road.

Sgt Clark revealed the police will be investigating the speed and specifics of the accident while Workplace Standards will be investigating the work site’s signage and safety arrangements.

“We just ask motorists if they come across roadworks to pay particular attention to the signs there and slow
down,” Sgt Clark said.

“If the maximum speed is 50km, 40km or 60km, that is the maximum speed.

“Slow down, take your time and look out for people who are on the road or on the edges of the road.”

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Source: http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2013/02/06/371764_print.html

Safety Watchdog Goes After RailCorp for Workplace Death

The State’s transport safety regulator is seeking prosecution against RailCorp, for the death of a track worker who was struck by an oncoming train at Kogarah.

Tamati Grant, 59 was struck and killed by a train while attempting to avoid the southbound train from Hurstville on April 13,2010.

The fatality was blamed on a failure of a RailCorp employee- an area controller- at the train operators signalling complex in Sydenham. The area controller was supposed to alert Grant’s cleaning team of the arrival of the train but failed to do so, resulting in his death.

The Independent Transport Safety Regulator is set to prosecute RailCorp and the area controller for breaching the Rail Safety Act of 2008.

The specific charges that will be aimed at the company, the operator or the company’s former area controller, are not yet clear.

A 2010 prosecution of the Australian Rail Track Corporation, which manages freight lines around the country, resulted in a $200,000 fine. Under the act, individuals can face jail terms of up to two years.

A report into Mr Grant’s death was compiled by the Office of Transport Safety Investigations and it outlines a succession of errors and breaches of procedure.

The report outlined a crucial error in which the area-controller told the leader of Grant’s team that “signal blocks” were on, which would block any potentially incoming trains from passing through. The blocks as it turns out, were not on and by the time the area-controller became aware of this, the train had already been within the teams sights. Grant’s co-workers quickly scrambled to evade the train but tragically he was not so fortunate.

Months prior the fatality, the area controller had taken sick leave, for reportedly seeking treatment for ‘‘psychological conditions and drug rehabilitation”. He allegedly wanted to call in sick on the day of the fatality.

The proceedings against RailCorp are listed  expected to be mentioned in Industrial Court of NSW on December 13.

The court date for the area controller is listed for hearing before the Chief Industrial Magistrate between March 4 and 13.

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Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/safety-watchdog-to-prosecute-railcorp-over-workers-death-20121129-2airr.html#ixzz2E8TdOOPN

OHS:Perth Company Pays Out for Injured Labourer

A Perth company was told to pay $10,000 to an employee who lost part of a finger in a mincing machine.

In February 2010,  a labourer at D’Orsogna Limited was using a mincing machine that had a metal chute also known as a hopper, in which meat was fed into.

The employee placed 200kg of meat onto a hoist and checked the levels of meat being consumed by the hopper.

Upon inspection, the labourer noticed the meat was not reaching the mincing area. This prompted the worker to use his hand to push the meat down which resulted in him getting his finger stuck in the mincing area. He was subsequently required to have his finger amputated at the knuckle.

D’Orsogna LTD pleaded guilty in court for failing to provide and uphold a safe work environment for employees.

In a recent case, Harvest Freshcuts was told to pay over $50,000 when an employee lost two fingers in a vegetable slicer.

WorkSafe executive director Ian Munns said “It’s disappointing that the message evidently still has not gotten through that it is never safe to allow the moving parts of machinery to remain operational when workers may have to make adjustments or perform maintenance,”

“Subsequent to this incident, the employer installed a safe system of work for this mincer that cost less than $3000 – far less than the total $11,548 the company ended up paying in a fine and costs.”

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Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/15313188/company-fined-10-000-after-mincing-accident/

OHS:Poor Investments to Blame for WorkCover Woes

OHS Safety trainingAccountants have determined that half of the $4 billion deficit in the finances of the NSW WorkCover scheme is a result of poor return on investments.

The NSW government has however argued that rorting of the worker’s compensation scheme is a significant cause of the problems plaguing the organisation. A report released by the government included a recommendation for slashing benefits to injured workers in order to reduce the deficit.

Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner made recent statements calling for the need of WorkCover to be a scheme that is without any loopholes, thus preventing rorts while remaining affordable.

Stoner stated that some cases involve part-time workers who have been receiving worker’s compensation for many years despite questionable claims.

WorkCover’s annual report for 2010-2011 revealed that nine people were prosecuted for defrauding the system.

Michael Playford of PricewaterhouseCoopers actuary, stated that an increase in damages claims can be attributed to an emerging “lump sum culture”.However an evaluation from the very same actuary revealed that 50% of the deficit is due to “external influences impacting investment returns achieved”.

The other half of the deficit is attributed to a deterioration in claims management over the past four years. Finance Minister Greg Pearce believes that the investment returns are probably set to further deteriorate. He added that the efforts to improve systems to compel people to return to work earlier, would require a change in benefits.

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Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/workcover-woes-blamed-on-poor-investments-and-rorters-20120521-1z1ew.html#ixzz1veNsbCMa

OHS: Another Dam Work Delay

OHS trainingWorkSafe ACT has once again issued a stop work order for part of Caberra’ Cotter Dam construction site because of concerns with safety.Over 20 serious safety issues have been cited since work commenced on the Cotter Dam enlargement project.

Canberra’s water authority ACTEW is enlarging the capacity of the reservoir by 74 gigalitres.

Throughout the week other issues have occurred such as when workers drilling near a crane mistakenly severed the cable while the power was on. These incidents have prompted a prohibition notice.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe stated that the workers are luckily the accidents were not fatal as the incidents posed serious risks.McCabe stated that he requested investigators to advise him on whether there has been a breach of Work Health and Safety Law that should be referred to the DPP.

Another incident occurred that involved a bolt coming off of the lower section of a crane, compromising its entire structure. Dean Hall from The CFMEU stated that the incident could have seriously and realistically lead to the crane falling down. Hall claims that inadequate bolts are being used to hold the cranes together and thus need investigation.

McCabe stated that he does not believe the incidents were isolated.

Hall stated that there have also been serious issues with communication on the site. Safety concerns raised by workers on the ground have apparently been lost in middle management on their way to upper management.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-02/act-cotter-dam-stop-work/3806484?section=act 

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