Logging company fined $15,000 over amputation of worker’s fingers

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A logging company has been fined $15,000 after an incident in which a worker’s hand was severely injured.

Softwood Logging Services Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court last week.

In July 2008, a Softwood Logging Services employee was operating a mobile wood chipper at the Oriole Plantation in the Shire of Plantagenet.

During operation of the chipper, the overspout (which is designed to eject oversized wood from the chipper) became blocked and the employee left the cab to clear the blockage.

He had not been instructed on how to clear blockages from the chipper, and there was no guard in place on the overspout to prevent contact with the rotating chipper disk.

Acting WorkSafe Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today that the case illustrated the importance of guarding machinery to prevent injuries.

“Guarding of the moving parts of machinery is one of the easiest and most obvious means of minimising the risk of injury to machinery operators,” Mr McCulloch said.

“It is up to the employer to ensure that workers observe the safe work practices that are in place. But in this case, it would have been better to ensure that the machine was safe to operate in the first place.

“I strongly urge anyone with control of a workplace containing machinery with hazardous moving parts to ensure that those moving parts are safely guarded to ensure the machines are safe to operate.”

Further information on guarding of machinery can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877 or on the website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au

Media contact:  Caroline De Vaney 9327 8744 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only).

Media release
22 Mar 2011

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