Electroplating machine death results in $300K fine - 11.10.21

Metal treatment business ACE Metal Treatment Services has been convicted and fined $300,000 following the death of a worker who became trapped in an electroplating machine at a Delacombe factory. The electroplater pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to maintain plant that was safe and without risks to health. The incident occurred on 29 October 2019, when the worker became trapped between a safety guard and the machine frame, sustaining fatal chest injuries. The safety guards on the side of the machine were designed to shut down the machine if there was an obstruction between them and the frame, however the safety switches were not working.

An investigation by WorkSafe Victoria found that the company failed to maintain the electroplating machine in a way that was safe and without risks, by having an inoperative emergency stop button and safety switches, and not having the machine serviced regularly. The company also failed to control the risks associated with the machine by preventing access while it was operating. To manage risks when working with machinery, employers are advised to identify hazards, assess the risks associated with them and eliminate or control those risks by isolating them or using an alternative. Staff should also be trained in the safe operation of machines and equipment, with written procedures provided in the worker’s first language.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said there was no excuse for employers who put workers’ lives at risk by ignoring their health and safety obligations, and cautioned that WorkSafe will not hesitate to take action against employers who fail in their responsibility to do everything reasonably possible to keep workplaces safe. “This death is a tragic reminder that failing to make health and safety the first priority can have fatal consequences. If you’re running a business in Victoria, you have a responsibility to maintain a safe workplace, including regularly servicing machinery and providing appropriate safety instructions and training to workers,” Keen said.

Employers should develop and implement safe operating procedures in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives, and ensure that safety guards and gates are compliant and fixed to machines at all times. All machines and equipment should be serviced and inspected regularly, with signs placed on or near machines to alert employees to the dangers of operating them.

Source – SafetySolutions.net.au