The National : THE NATIONAL Issue 3 2009
56 THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DRYCLEANER & LAUNDERER, VOL 3 #3 2009 resolved on site for little or no cost, but ensuring it happens has enormous benefits.” Bayswater company, Hellweg International Pty Ltd, was convicted and fined $40,000 after pleading guilty to one charge laid under the Occupational Health and Safety Act*. Hellweg International Pty Ltd makes holsters and other products for police, security and military customers. WorkSafe told Ringwood Magistrate Doug Bolster that a woman suffered serious burns and one hand permanently damaged as she tried to free leather that was stuck in an unguarded embossing machine on 9 March 2006 The first finger of her right hand was severed at the first knuckle and her middle finger was barely attached to her hand. The top of her hand was severely burned and deformed. There were burns on her forearm. She had seven hours of surgery that day at St Vincent’s Hospital. The next day, there was a seven- and-a-half-hour operation which was followed by a five hour operation to apply a skin graft to the top of her right hand and middle finger a few weeks later. WorkSafe’s John Merritt said the case was not unusual. “Worksafe inspectors deal with businesses operating unguarded machinery every day. Sometimes it’s in response to a person being injured, other times it is a risk factor. “Unless action is taken to eliminate the risk before someone is hurt we will apply the law. “Apart from a person being hurt the ability to get or maintain contracts can be affected, staff turnover can rise and the business’ reputation can be undermined. “It will always much better for everyone involved to assess and eliminate their workplace’s hazards early than to do it after the event.” The charge: Section 21(1)&(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 – 1 charge s21. Duties of employers to employees (1) An employer must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain for employees of the employer a working environment that is safe and without risks to health. (2) Without limiting sub-section (1), an employer contravenes that sub-section if the employer fails to do any of the following— (a) provide or maintain plant or systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health; Media inquiries: Michael Birt, WorkSafe Victoria, ‘phone 0411 256 605 Woman scalped at Braybrook bed factory A 35-year-old Berwick woman has suffered serious injuries after her head was caught in an unguarded machine at Braybrook. WorkSafe have investigated the incident which happened at a bedding factory in Evans Street Braybrook around 8:15am, 20 April, 2007. She was treated for scalping injuries at the Alfred Hospital. WorkSafe inspectors issued three prohibition notices and nine improvement notices at the site. Some of the notices related to the machine which injured the woman. WorkSafe’s Executive Director, John Merritt, said it was another reminder of the dangers of unguarded machines. “Business operators must understand they have well- established legal responsibilities to provide and maintain a safe workplace. “Guarding is one of the most basic ways to make machines safe, yet we frequently find dangerous, unguarded equipment in Victorian workplaces. “All employers need to ensure machines in their workplaces are as safe as practicable. dreadful injuries like today’s can be avoided. “We urge workers and their employers to be active in making workplaces as safe as they can be. Discuss the known risks and those that can be anticipated. You don’t have to wait until tragedy strikes to make improvements.” WorkSafe’s advisory service can be contacted on 1800 136 089 and our website, www.worksafe..vic.gov.au has detailed information for many common tasks and a range of industrial settings.” WorkSafe recently prosecuted a soil testing company after a man was scalped at a housing estate in the south-western suburbs. WorkSafe warns on confined spaces work Working in confined spaces could be the last thing you or your workers will ever do because of the risk of being overcome by dangerous gases. WorkSafe’s Manufacturing and Logistics Director, Trevor Martin, said the dangers associated with working in confined spaces were well-established. “Work in confined spaces with poor ventilation has led to deaths and it’s essential that appropriate controls and training are in place to manage these risks. “In some cases people just ‘go to sleep’ and don’t wake up.
THE NATIONAL Jan - Feb 2010
THE NATIONAL Issue 2 2009