Breaching health and safety laws

A South Australian business has been convicted and fined $99,000 in the SA Employment Court after a worker lost part of four fingers.

Rota Forma who operate a business producing and building metal garages, carports and sheds were found guilty of breaching health and safety laws and ordered to pay fines of $99,000.

The company pleaded guilty to breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012, in relation to the accident, which occurred in 2015. The court was told a forklift driver had been inspecting a guillotine plant’s conveyor belt when a support arm unexpectedly lowered, crushing his hand along the knuckle line.

According to reports tabled in the courts, there had been no hazard identification for the guillotine plant, and the guillotine had not been isolated, however the employee only had limited training in how to operate it. As a result of the accident, the worker lost part of four fingers on his right hand.

The court’s deputy president Stephen Lieschke said the worker’s “entirely avoidable shocking injuries… represented about the worst potential injuries that could have been caused by the uncontrolled safety risks.”

However Lieschke did note that: “Rota-Forma did respond in a thorough and positive way to the deficiencies that caused this offence”.

SafeWork SA executive director Martyn Campbell urged businesses to be mindful of their work health and safety responsibilities.

“When using machinery such as a guillotine plant, businesses can’t afford to compromise on essential work health and safety measures”.

“That means you need to ensure all staff likely to use the equipment are properly trained and that appropriate risk management procedures are in place,” said Campbell.

“I’d encourage all businesses to ensure they have the proper procedures in place to ensure workers are appropriately trained for the work they’re likely to do.”


Image sourced from Flickr cc: Michael Coghlan

Back to blog