Machinery supplier fined over amputation of worker's fingers

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The supplier of a woodchipping machine has been fined $30,000 (plus $12,000 in costs) over an incident in which a worker’s hand was severely injured.

As the supplier of the machine, CJD Equipment Pty Ltd was found guilty of failing to ensure that the design and construction of the machine was safe and, by that failure, causing serious harm to a person and was fined in the Perth Magistrates Court this morning.

CJD Equipment had supplied a Peterson Pacific 5000 H mobile chipper to Softwood Logging Services Pty Ltd in Mount Barker with no guard on the overspout that incorporated a rotating chipper disk.

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

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

He was unaware that the chipper disk at the base of the overspout was still rotating.  His right hand was struck by the rotating chipper disk and his index, middle and ring fingers were amputated and his little finger severely injured.

WorkSafe WA Director of Policy and Education, Ian Munns, said today that the case should send messages both on the importance of guarding machinery and the fact that the responsibility for workplace safety was not limited to employers.

“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 Munns said.

“It is up to the employer to ensure that workers receive instruction and training and observe the safe work practices that are in place, and the employer of the injured man has already been fined over this incident.

“In this case, it would have been better to ensure that the machine was safe to operate in the first place, and that’s where the supplier has to take responsibility.

“WA’s occupational safety and health laws require that designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of plant ensure that people who properly install, maintain or use the plant are not exposed to hazards.

“This chipper was supplied without guarding on an overspout over a rotating chipper disk – clearly a breach of the supplier’s obligation to protect operators from hazards.

“Shortly after this incident the employer installed a guard on the overspout, unfortunately too late for the worker who sustained serious and permanent injuries to his hand.

“Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility, and 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).  caroline.devaney@commerce.wa.gov.au 

WorkSafe
Media release
28 Feb 2012

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