The following is an abridgement of an article originally published on the WorkSafe Victoria website.
A tank manufacturer has been fined $65,000 for failing to provide a safe system of work after a worker lost her thumb in an industrial accident at its Swan Hill factory in March 2021.
The worker was using a wide belt sander to smooth a metal bar when the bar was dragged downward by the rotating belt, trapping her left hand between the belt and a resting plate. She could not reach the emergency stop button and had to call out to her supervisor to stop the machine. Her left thumb was amputated at the second joint and ground down by the belt. She was airlifted to hospital but the thumb could not be reattached.
WorkSafe’s investigation found that the worker was not aware of a specific safe work method statement for operating the machine that stated no gloves or loose clothing should be worn while using the sander. WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said the company’s failure had caused the worker considerable harm and trauma.
"The risks of working with machinery are well known so there is no excuse for failing to have a safe system of work in place and, most importantly, ensure that workers are adhering to it."
To manage risks when working with machinery, employers should :
Tank maker fined $65,000 after worker loses thumb by WorkSafe Victoria, 30th October, 2023.