NSW workplace accident leads to significant fine

Date: Nov 04, 2015

Regardless of experience and skill sets, the engineering industry features a number of injury risks and hazards. As such, if these issues are not managed, there can be serious consequences for both the workers involved and the business as a whole.

This situation was highlighted in a recent case in Western Sydney. According to SafeWork NSW, a boilermaker at an engineering firm lost four toes and part of his foot after a steel beam fell on him.

The accident occurred in September 2013 as the man was transporting and unpacking a number of steel beams. During this task, three beams feel from a frame with one landing on the man's foot. At more than half a tonne, the sustained injuries were serious and extremely painful.

SafeWork NSW investigation

After the accident, SafeWork NSW conducted a full investigation into the accident – finding that the business in question missed a number of opportunities to protect their team. SafeWork NSW Peter Dunphy explained that the accident could have been prevented with basic measures.

"In this instance, all that was required was the development of a safe work system for unloading steel beams, the use of 'u frames' when unloading the beams to prevent them from slipping and ensuring a qualified dogman was available to direct the crane operator," he said.

"An effective safety system does not have to be expensive or complicated."

Under several parts of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the business was found guilty of failing to minimise risks. As a result, the company was fined $150,000.

Work health and safety month continues

This decision coincided with the end of National Safe Work Month 2015. While there was a heavy push for better workplace standards in October, Safe Work Australia reminded businesses that their responsibility stretches further than just one month.

"I encourage you [business leaders] to practice what you learn during National Safe Work Month, every month of the year," Safe Work Australia's Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Baxter said.

According to the authority, 135 Australian workers have died while at work during the calendar year-to-date.

Have you suffered a workplace injury?

Employees injured at work are entitled to workers compensation. It is recommended that you contact a compensation lawyer who can advise you on how to make your claim and assist you through the process.

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