The defendant company held duties under s.47 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. It was a large multinational company, with the particular workplace specialising in cardboard manufacturing.
On 5 July 2016 an experienced worker operating an automated cardboard corrugating machine had his hand trapped during examination of the plant. The worker sustained crush injuries including tendon damage.
The plant was installed several years earlier and operated without incident. Significant training, time and expense were committed during the commissioning process. The maintenance team were aware that the plant would re-engage in certain circumstances despite the stop button being activated. The injured worker and other operators charged with supervising the production process were unaware of this.
On 21 June 2018, the defendant pleaded guilty in the Holland Park Magistrates Court to breaching s.47 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and was sentenced.
Magistrate Cornack fined the defendant $9000 and ordered professional costs of $1250. The court ordered that no conviction be recorded.
In deciding penalty, Magistrate Cornack took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach, co-operated with the investigation, entered an early plea of guilty and taken substantial post incident measures to address the failure. Despite the injuries sustained the worker has returned to work, in a different capacity and was fully supported during his convalescence.
Considerations for prevention
(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)
When working in the manufacturing industry where there is exposure to risks from contact with moving parts of plant, duty holders should consider the following:
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Managing risks of plant in the workplace code of practice 2021 (PDF, 1.57 MB)
- How to manage work health and safety risks code of practice 2021 (PDF, 0.65 MB)
- Date of offence:
- Severe crush injury to right hand-tendon damage
- Holland Park Magistrates Court
- Magistrate Sheryl Cornack
- s.47 Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- $9,000 fine
- Maximum Penalty:
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: