SA convicts on hand and arm injuries

by 15 Mar 2010

Three South Australian businesses were recently fined and convicted by Magistrate Michael Ardlie for separate hand and arm injuries.

Coromandel Valley Construction Enterprises, Orrcon Operations and Lane Brothers Printers all had pleaded guilty of breaches under the state’s Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act 1986, according to SafeWork SA.

Coromoandel was fined $26,000 over an apprentice’s serious injuries when a circular power saw kicked back and severed his forearm. The apprentice had been advised to hold the saw with one hand the item to be cut with the other.

Ardlie said the advice was “clearly and inadequate” and that the company had failed to identify potential risks.

The business has since been sold and new safety systems have been installed, according to SafeWork SA.

Orrcon was fined $22,000 - just 10 per cent of what it could have been, given it was its second incident since 2006 - over a 2007 incident involving a steel-milling machine. Three of the worker’s fingers were damaged in the accident.

“Whilst the defendant had considered in some detail the operation of the plant it had not considered the trapping point... being accessible in the way the employee accessed it,” Ardlie said.

The company’s fine was reduced for cooperating and for taking immediate remedial action.

Lane Brothers was fined $9,000 over failing to provide protection against access to a book-stapling machine’s moving parts.

The worker’s finger tip was crushed in the accident.

“Contact with moving machinery is one of the most common causes of workplace injury,” SafeWork SA Executive Director, Michele Patterson said in a statement.

“These three cases highlight the need to rigorously factor safety into all facets of work, especially the plant and equipment involved and the work practices themselves.

“The vast majority of incidents of harm such as these are foreseeable and avoidable, provided the appropriate analysis identifies all situations which may arise, no matter how unusual or infrequent.”