Perth tyre recycling company fined after worker loses fingers in workplace incident - 23.1.17

A Perth-based tyre recycling company has been fined $80,000 following a workplace incident in which a worker’s fingers were amputated by a tyre shredder.

The company was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court on Monday after pleading guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace, thus causing serious harm to an employee. The company has also been ordered to pay $2013.00 in costs.

In September 2013, four workers were using a mobile shredder mounted on a trailer to shred tyres and reduce them into smaller pieces.

Two of the workers were loading the tyres onto the in-feed conveyor, one worker was operating the controls, and one was standing on the trailer ensuring that the conveyor belt continued to clear and that blockages did not occur.

On the day of the incident, the 17-year-old unskilled worker was standing on the trailer at the out-feed of the shredder. He noticed that a long thin piece of rubber was stuck in the out-feed, and signalled the controller to reverse the shredder. He grabbed the stuck piece of rubber and when he started feeding the piece back, his hand was dragged into the reversing shredder.

All the fingers on his right hand were amputated by the cutters.  His right thumb proved unsalvageable after initial surgery to reattach it.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said the case was a reminder to industry on the need to guard the moving parts of machinery.

“This company was well aware of the unguarded cutters, and the Operations Manager at the premises repeatedly warned workers not to reach inside the shredder,” Mr. McCulloch said.

“A Mobile Shredder Safe Work Practices document used in the workplace also warned not to place hands or arms in the shredder while it was operating.  In addition, the Operator’s Manual for the plant warned that no employee should be standing on the trailer while the shredder was in operation

“However, the bottom line is that it was practicable for Elan Energy to have placed guarding at the out-feed area to prevent employees from accessing the cutters, and this was not done.

“Since this incident, the company installed a guard on the out-feed area, but unfortunately too late for this worker who – at just 17 years of age – suffered permanent impairment that was entirely avoidable.

“Guarding of the dangerous moving parts of machinery is such a basic and easy precaution to take, and it really is time for employers to take a good hard look at the guarding situation and stop exposing employees to the risk of injury.”

Further information on guarding of machinery can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at

Source: OHS News