Labour hire company convicted after worker scalped by conveyor belt - 16.1.17

A labour hire company has been convicted after a backpacker worker was scalped by a conveyor belt in November 2015.

The company pleaded guilty in the Shepparton Magistrates Court to one breach of the OHS Act 2004 for failing to provide a safe working environment by failing to provide instruction and training, It was also ordered to pay costs of $8,091.

The incident happened in a packing shed in Shepparton managed by a company which used two conveyors to deliver pears for distribution.

According to the investigation, workers were required to clean the conveyors while they were moving. The victim was checking the underside of the second conveyor so that she could scrub the surfaces when her hair became entangled in a rotating drive shaft and her scalp was torn from her head. One of her ears was also torn off.

“This truly was a shocking incident that has changed this young woman’s life in a split second,” said WorkSafe’s Executive Director Health and Safety, Marnie Williams.

“It’s staggering that workers were expected to clean machines which were still in operation.

“All workers at this business were exposed to serious risks to their health and safety because a safe system of work was not in place. There was no requirement to isolate the conveyors from energy sources during the cleaning process and no training provided to workers.”

She said the labour hire business left the workers exposed to the risk of serious injury from entanglement, crushing or entrapment with both conveyors.

“This labour hire business engaged workers for this packing shed and left them exposed to risk of serious injury and death,” said Ms. Williams.

“They should have ensured the workers were provided with a safe working environment and appropriate training at the workplace and not just left it to chance.”

The packing company and the manager of the packing shed are also facing charges over the incident.

Source: OHS News