$30,000 fine after man loses foot

January 02, 2018

A SILO manufacturing company in Rochester has been fined $30,000 after a mobile crane ran over an employee’s leg and crushed his foot, which later had to be amputated.

Lindsay F Nelson Manufacturing, trading as Nelson Silos, pleaded guilty in the Echuca Magistrate’s Court to failing to provide and maintain systems of work that would eliminate or reduce the risk of the mobile crane colliding with pedestrians and failing to provide information, instruction or training in relation to the hazards and risks associated with working in close proximity to the mobile plant or stabilising loads.

The company was also ordered to pay $3430 in costs.

The court heard on March 7, 2016, a crane driver was using a mobile crane at the Kyabram Rd site to transport 12 sections of steel — all between 6m and 10m long.

He asked a co-worker to walk alongside the crane to balance the steel sections with his hand so they would not rotate.

The worker walked up to 20m beside the crane before he stumbled and fell and the crane ran over his leg.

He suffered a fractured hip socket and a crushed foot.

He was taken to Bendigo Hospital where his foot was amputated.

WorkSafe’s investigation found the usual procedure in transporting stays with the mobile crane involved an employee stabilising the stays by hand while walking alongside the moving crane, placing workers at risk of colliding with the crane.

The investigation also revealed while the injured employee had worked at the company for 12 months, he had not received any instruction or training in relation to the hazards and risks associated with working in close proximity to mobile plant or stabilising loads.

The company also had no documented job safety assessments, safe work procedures, safe work method statements or maintenance records in relation to the mobile crane.

The court heard since the incident the company had employed an occupational health and safety officer, created safe work documents and no longer used the mobile crane.

It now uses an overhead factory bridge crane for similar tasks or a private crane company.

WorkSafe health and safety executive director Marnie Williams said the worker’s injury could have been avoided had the company followed standard industry safety procedures.

“The company failed on many counts,” she said.

“It failed to train its workers and it failed to have appropriate safety processes in place for high risk work.

‘‘Putting workers in harm’s way by asking them to stabilise heavy loads by hand while walking in close proximity to a mobile crane is appalling and totally unacceptable.

“Powered mobile machinery is a leading cause of death and serious injury in Victorian workplaces.

‘‘Too many workers are still being hit by, crushed or fall from powered mobile machinery on site. But every incident is preventable.’’

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