A Melbourne business, Timberwood Panels Pty Ltd, and its director Iain Agyeman, have appeared in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on two counts of failing to provide or maintain safe systems of work, and of failing to provide information and instruction.
The charges follow an incident in June of 2019 that saw a worker crushed in a mechanical hoist. The worker had been using the hoist to lift timber panels and had stopped to clear a malfunction in the plant. He suffered significant back and leg injuries and is still not back to work at full capacity.
In the subsequent investigation by WorkSafe, it was found that interlocks on gates in the area around the hoist had been bypassed, meaning access points to the plant could be opened without shutting the machine off. Safety guarding had also been removed.
Investigators found the system of work to be unsafe, and there was inadequate training around risk identification, and safety procedures were ignored.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said that the actions were careless and would not be tolerated by the regulator.
“To remove guarding and deactivate interlock systems shows a blatant disregard for safety, and sadly this worker is continuing to live with the consequences,” she said.
“WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who fail to ensure the safety of their workers is always their first priority.”
The business was fined $35,000 and the director $25,000 and was required to pay court costs of $3640.