Worker suffers hand injury, company convicted

Date: Aug 31, 2018

Accidents happen on the job all the time. Between 2015 and 2016, there were over 12,000 serious claims reported in both the construction and manufacturing industries, according to SafeWork Australia. In many cases, these accidents could have been prevented had the risk been assessed properly.

In a recent incident in Wetherill Park, NSW, a young worker was operating heavy machinery when he suffered severe injuries to his hand.

The incident leading to injury

SafeWork New South Wales was the prosecutor in a recent case representing a worker in his early twenties. In October 2014, the man was employed by the defendant and was operating a 100 tonne capacity hydraulic brake press. This type of machine is used to bend material, such as sheet metal.

While he was operating the press, he noticed it wasn’t folding the metal correctly, and informed his manager. After the two thought they had fixed the issue, it once again wasn’t working. When trying to inform his manager of the issue, the victim looked away and failed to move his hands from under the running machinery. His left hand was crushed.

Because of the severe injuries, the victim had to have partial amputation on four of his fingers.

District court hearing

During the hearing, the judge noted that the defendant had failed to:

  • Develop a safe operating procedure for the press.
  • Ensure workers were trained and thus competent to operate the machinery.
  • Prohibit employees, including the victim, from operating the press until they were properly trained and competent.
  • Ensure the light curtain on the machine was the correct size for the material worked on. This could have avoided a body part coming into contact with the blade.

The company’s duty to its workers had been simple and straightforward, according to the judge. Though the defendant had a safety system in place, there were additional steps that could have been made to avoid the danger. Thus, the risk was deemed foreseeable.

The defendant was convicted and ordered to pay a fine of $112,500.00, half of which went to the prosecutor.

Have you suffered a work-related injury? You may be eligible to receive compensation. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation. Our team of experienced lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers will be happy to discuss your options and guide you through the claim process.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.