While a serious workplace accident is an incredibly unfortunate event, often it gives companies the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and put in place preventative measures to reduce the risk in the future.
A large manufacturing company was recently fined $70,000 after a factory worker had his hand crushed in a machinery accident.
A 42 year old glazier was changing a fixture when the heavy press slammed down onto his left hand, resulting in two of his fingers being surgically amputated.
An investigation after the incident showed that the worker had not been properly trained to operate the power press. This worker was not trained or supervised properly on what was a very dangerous piece of plant machinery.
As a result the Industrial Magistrates Court found the company to have breached the Workplace Health and Safety Act, causing grievous bodily harm, and fined the company accordingly.
Taking action to prevent future accidents
The accident prompted the employer to improve their safety standards and implement immediate changes to reduce the risk to their employees. The steps they took included:
- Upgrading their machines with new guarding with restricted access and auto shutoff mechanisms
- Updated staff training to allow only appropriately trained staff to operate specific machinery
- Regular toolbox talk meetings
- Annual training refresher
- Reviewed and updated training and induction procedures
- Machine barriers, guarded areas and guarded machines
- Clear warning and safety signage displayed especially in high risk areas, throughout the factory.
WorkCover Queensland is also working together with the employer to follow through with these changes, as well as heighten the ongoing safety and prevention focus to ensure this doesn't happen again.
WorkCover Customer Advisor Lynette Maltby said this example shows the importance of providing appropriate induction, training and continued monitoring and training in the workplace to reduce and hopefully eliminate the risk of any further injuries.
“I'm confident that this employer has learnt a very valuable lesson, and that their workplace will be a much safer one going forward.
“Employers have a responsibility to keep a safe workplace, which in turn reduces the risk of injuries to their workers.
“If injuries do in fact occur, the best thing to do is to keep communication going with injured workers, and encourage them to return to work as soon as possible after their injury, perhaps on suitable alternative duties, as doing promotes recovery.”
For more information on keeping your workplace safe, injury management or returning to work after an injury, please visit our website, or call us on 1300 362 128.