A horrific accident has taken place on a construction site in Ballarat during which a worker’s face was crushed by a hydraulic arm.
Although the incident happened at a brick company and not on a building site, it could easily have occurred within the construction industry because there are many similar hazards shared between the 2 industries.
The accident happened when the worker in question dropped some bricks. A machine ram came down on the worker’s shoulders. This caused his face to be forced into the fallen bricks that he was trying to recover.
The man suffered a broken scapula, broken jaw as well as multiple fractures to his right elbow and face.
This was the second serious incident for the employer who was fined $55,000 six years earlier but had still failed to implement the necessary safety precautions to ensure workers were safe by providing safe operating plant and procedures, let’s hope they have finally learnt their lesson.
This excerpt from an article on SafetyCUlture.com.au explains what happened:
A brick company has been given a fine of $90,000 for a workplace incident where the face of a worker was crushed by a hydraulic ram.
The ram came down on the shoulders of the worker and forced his face into the fallen bricks that he was attempting to recover.
He was transported to hospital with a broken right scapula, broken jaw, and multiple fractures to his right elbow and face and needed surgery.
The employer’s lawyers pleaded guilty in the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court to one charge under sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.
The court heard that the same company was fined $55,000 and convicted in 2007 for a similar accident where a worker received significant injuries; it was found that they had failed to provide and maintain a safe operating plant.
The WorkSafe prosecutor said that the worker had been working alone in the packaging area when he had turned off the “strapping machine” the clear bricks that had fallen underneath the hydraulic ram.
Another worker turned it back on not realising that he was retrieving the bricks.
This incident is a reminder to employers that they have a duty to provide a safe work environment and safe system of work to employees.
Employers also have a responsibility to ensure that all operating plant and procedures are safe. They need to do this by first identifying the hazards associated with these plant and procedures and attempting to eliminate them.
Employers need to assess all the risks involved. If the hazards cannot be removed, the risk involved must be minimised as much as possible. Employers need to plan and develop safety control measures to handle plant and machinery hazards and implement these on site.
Workers should be adequately trained on safety procedures and on general construction safety in order to remain safe while working on the hazardous construction site.